Taxonomy of LEO Space Debris Population for ADR Selection
In Proceedings of the 67th International Astronautical Congress, (IAC-2016), 26.9.-30.9.2016, Guadalajara, International Astronautical Federation (IAF), pages 1-15, Sep/2016.
The following paper presents a novel taxonomy method for LEO space debris population. The goal of
the method is to provide a new way of classifying low Earth orbit (LEO) space debris objects to support
future ADR missions and aid decision making. The method is formulated in two layers. In the first layer,
a taxonomic tree is used to identify the main class of an object, based on its most prominent dynamical
and physical traits. In the second layer, the hazard of an object and its level of non-cooperativeness are
identified and the selection of the most suited ADR capture method, from a safety perspective, is performed.
This is done by defining the break-up risk index and levels of non-cooperativeness of targets, based on their
passivation state, age, angular rate, physical properties of the capture interface, etc. Examples of application
of the developed taxonomy are presented and conclusions are drawn regarding the best methods to be used
for the main categories of LEO space debris under investigation for future ADR missions.