Systems Engineering Seminar

What's New in Orbital Debris?

Presented by:
Scott Hull, Code 592 & Ivonne Rodriguez, Code 592

July 18, 2017 - 1:30 pm
Building 8 Auditorium (GSFC)


While the world continues to debate the best way to remove orbital debris objects, most of our efforts are still focused on how to prevent debris generation in the first place. Recently there have been updates to our environment models, assessment tools, and our procedural requirements that systems engineers and others should be aware of. The talk will begin with a basic introduction to the orbital debris environment and discipline, then discuss the updated procedural requirements in the recently-released NPR 8715.6B. A new orbital debris environment model was released a few years ago, so we will review some of the impacts for our missions, both in terms of design requirements and the future growth of the debris population itself. New assessment tools have been released that incorporate the updated environment model, so the implications of those will also be discussed. Finally, we'll examine how all of this applies to CubeSat missions, and what the proposed new smallsat constellations might mean for the future of orbital debris.


Scott Hull has been an Orbital Debris Engineer at GSFC since 2002. He focuses primarily on end of mission planning, responsible disposal of spacecraft, and hypervelocity penetration risks. He has written End of Mission Plans for over 40 missions, and participated in the decommissioning activities for 12 spacecraft. In addition, he has served on four NESC studies with the nationís orbital debris experts, and he wrote the End of Mission Considerations chapter for "Space Mission Engineering: The New SMAD". He received a B.S. in Materials Engineering from Drexel University in 1987.

Ivonne Rodriguez is an Orbital Debris Engineer in the Instrument & Payload Systems Engineering Branch (Code 592). She provides orbital debris-related services to many GSFC missions during the development phases, including Micrometeoroid/Orbital Debris damage risk assessment, reentry risk assessment, and preparation of Orbital Debris Assessment Reports (ODARs). She also supports the Mission Design Lab (MDL) and Instrument Design Lab (IDL) in the areas of orbital debris and end of mission planning. Previously, she worked as Aerospace Engineer in the Electromechanical Systems Branch (Code 544). She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2002 and her B.S. in Physical Sciences in 1988, both from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus.


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