Return to list

Improvement in the operational management of collision risks at low speeds réf:T2018SI104


Since the beginnings of space exploration, human activity has generated a very large number of objects of all sizes in space. Recent assessments record approximately 20,000 objects larger than 10 cm. Our statistical models estimate the number of objects between 1 and 10 cm at approximately 300,000 and the number of objects between 0.1 and 1 cm at several tens of millions. Particles smaller than 0.1 cm are, of course, even more numerous. Space debris, whether in orbit or on the ground, creates a risk for both property and people. The operational management of collision risks consists of detecting instances of two space objects coming dangerously close to each other. The probability of them colliding is then analysed from a statistical perspective. A situation is considered dangerous according to the probability that the relative distance is lower than a given value.
Calculating the collision probability is complex and requires many approximations. Until now, probability has been calculated by transforming the 3-dimensional problem into a 2-dimensional problem and considering only the uncertainties related to the position of the objects. The Coppola method (Including velocity uncertainty in the probability of collision between space objects, AAS 12-247) has recently allowed calculations to be made based on the integral in 3 dimensions while taking into account uncertainties related to the speed of the two objects. In particular, this method makes it possible to process instances of objects coming close to each other at a relatively low speed, where 2D methods often fail.

The first part of the course will involve comparing and analysing operational cases in which 2D methods and the Coppola method present significant differences and approving the method for future operational use.
The second part of the course will deal with creating charts of manoeuvres that have the capacity to take account of all the risks and then checking that the best manoeuvre does not generate more risks with other side effects.

Desired profile

You should be a final year student at engineering school or university seeking an end-of-course internship and interested in topics related to space surveillance and debris. You should have previously studied astrodynamics. In addition, you should have a good knowledge of IT programming tools (in particular Java) and an interest in digital simulation. You should be independent, willing to take the initiative, enjoy working in a team and be familiar with Java and Scilab programming languages.

Structure description

Apply online Return to list