Status Report

Proper Elements for Space Debris

By SpaceRef Editor
December 3, 2021
Filed under , ,

Alessandra Celletti, Giuseppe Pucacco, Tudor Vartolomei

Proper elements are quasi-invariants of a Hamiltonian system, obtained through a normalization procedure. Proper elements have been successfully used to identify families of asteroids, sharing the same dynamical properties. We show that proper elements can also be used within space debris dynamics to identify groups of fragments associated to the same break-up event. The proposed method allows to reconstruct the evolutionary history and possibly to associate the fragments to a parent body. The procedure relies on different steps: (i) the development of a model for an approximate, though accurate, description of the dynamics of the space debris; (ii) the construction of a normalization procedure to determine the proper elements; (iii) the production of fragments through a simulated break-up event. We consider a model that includes the Keplerian part, an approximation of the geopotential, and the gravitational influence of Sun and Moon. We also evaluate the contribution of Solar radiation pressure and the effect of noise on the orbital elements. We implement a Lie series normalization procedure to compute the proper elements associated to semi-major axis, eccentricity and inclination. Based upon a wide range of samples, we conclude that the distribution of the proper elements in simulated break-up events (either collisions and explosions) shows an impressive connection with the dynamics observed immediately after the catastrophic event. The results are corroborated by a statistical data analysis based on the check of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and the computation of the Pearson correlation coefficient.

Comments: 42 pages, 15 figures, submitted to Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Dynamical Systems (math.DS)

Cite as: arXiv:2111.13835 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2111.13835v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Tudor Vartolomei 

[v1] Sat, 27 Nov 2021 07:10:37 UTC (4,109 KB)

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