Pub. Date:
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Spacecraft Collision Probability

Spacecraft Collision Probability

by F. Kenneth Chan


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The amount of space debris is growing at an alarming rate, raising concern about its collision with operational spacecraft. This book analyzes the probability of such a collision when the orbits of two approaching objects are based on measurements with inherent errors. Many recent papers have dealt with the methodology of computing the collision probability in the encounter region, but they have assumed that the encounter is a flyby and is short-term, with the trajectories of the objects represented by straight lines. By contrast, Spacecraft Collision Probability, the outgrowth of the author's research during the past two decades, deals not only with those cases but also with important long-term cases in which objects spend protracted periods in the vicinity of each other. An extensive chapter is included on the International Space Station (ISS), to demonstrate how one would accurately gauge its probability of collision. The ISS is modeled according to its actual complex shape, component by component—enabling the detailed computation of a more realistic collision probability than one would obtain by the routine practice of modeling it as a sphere. In addition, the author developed Excel macros to obtain the numerical tables and graphical plots appearing in the book. That software is available on the Supporting Materials page of the AIAA Web site.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781884989186
Publisher: American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Publication date: 03/30/2008
Pages: 325
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Dr. Ken Chan has more than forty years of experience in applied mathematics and the engineering sciences. Approximately half of that experience was related to artificial Earth-orbiting satellites; the other half, to signal detection. He has expertise in spacecraft orbital and attitude dynamics, space debris collision analysis and preemptive maneuvers, remote sensing, development of geographic information systems for global Earth applications, probabilistic antenna acquisition of moving objects, and signal fading in the ionosphere. The first twenty years of his career were involved with NASA and NOAA work, and the last twenty were spent on government projects.

Dr. Chan, who is presently with The Aerospace Corporation, obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and his doctoral degree from Princeton University. He has taught at the Catholic University of America in the Space Science and Applied Physics Department. His interest in spacecraft collision analysis resulted from his involvement with the Iridium program at Motorola.

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