An environmental estimation model for in-situ measurements of small space debris

Masahiro Furumoto, Toshiya Hanada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Space debris smaller than 2 mm that cannot be detected by ground-based observations may lead to a spacecraft's missions end. Therefore, IDEA, the project for In-situ Debris Environmental Awareness, which aims to detect sub-millimeter-size debris using a group of micro satellites, has been initiated at Kyushu University. To estimate the debris environment based on in-situ measurements from the project, this paper proposes an environmental estimation model with a Sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) filter. First, this paper reviews the previous research that investigated the nature of an orbit on which a piece of debris can be detected through in-situ measurements, and applies this phenomenon to the algorithm of the SMC filter. Second, the proposed model is evaluated by a simulation using MASTER-2009, which is the environmental model developed at European Space Agency. Comparison between the debris distributions predicted by MASTER-2009 and the simulated estimation verifies that the proposed model can estimate the debris environment sufficiently. Finally, this paper also investigates the effect of the measurement duration on the estimation. It is concluded, therefore, that the estimation model proposed and evaluated in this paper can provide a better definition of the sub-millimeter-size debris environment with in-situ measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-541
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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