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Removal of Small-Sized Space Debris by Laser-Ablative Momentum Generation

Scharring, Stefan and Lorbeer, Raoul-Amadeus and Zwilich, Michael and Zabic, Miroslav and Eisert, Lukas and Wilken, Jascha and Schumacher, Dennis and Roth, Markus and Eckel, Hans-Albert (2018) Removal of Small-Sized Space Debris by Laser-Ablative Momentum Generation. 5th European Workshop on Space Debris Modeling and Remediation, 25.-27. Juni 2018, Paris, Frankreich.

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Small-sized space debris objects pose a challenging threat for space security: Within a size range of 1 to 10 centimeters they are still large enough to cause severe damage to space assets but, moreover, they are almost too small to be detected and monitored. Recent progresses in laser-based debris monitoring yield promising results in detection and tracking of debris objects and enable for the short-term solution of obstacle avoidance maneuvers. For the long run, however, it has to be analyzed whether and how the usage of high energy lasers can provide for a reliable solution of the space debris problem in the abovementioned particle size range. Laser-based space debris removal concepts have been around for decades now. Nevertheless, practical implementation is still connected to great technological risks. Most of the concepts plan to utilize the laser ablative process at the target. To investigate this common aspect in detail and to reduce the risk of misleadingly extrapolating parameters, we now experimentally investigated the generation of impulse under realistic conditions as to be expected in a real space scenario. A Nd:YAG based, 10 ns pulsed MOPA laser system providing a pulse energy of 80 J was weakly focused to a diameter of 3 cm onto debris-like targets with different sizes, shapes and materials. The target masses ranged between 1 g to 3 g, indeed representing dangerous objects, and were in free fall within a vacuum during single pulse irradiation. High speed 3Dtracking was applied to deduce the kinetic properties induced by the ablation process. Finally, the data was compared to raytracing based simulation results. Differences between materials and mechanical dynamics are discussed. In simulations we explore operational safety issues as well as both potential and limitations of laser-ablative momentum generation, in particular with respect the accumulation of residual heat from the ablation process. For this purpose, we use Monte Carlo simulations in order to analyze how restrictions in laser pointing accuracy as well as random target orientation affect the predictability of laser-ablative momentum generation. Moreover, pulse number restrictions are discussed in order to avoid target melting and its compactification.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/123748/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:Removal of Small-Sized Space Debris by Laser-Ablative Momentum Generation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Scharring, Stefanstefan.scharring (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Lorbeer, Raoul-Amadeusraoul.lorbeer (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3674-9796
Eisert, Lukaslukas.eisert (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Wilken, Jaschajascha.wilken (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schumacher, DennisGSI Helmholtzzentrum für SchwerionenforschungUNSPECIFIED
Roth, Markusmarkus.roth (at) physik.tu-darmstadt.deUNSPECIFIED
Eckel, Hans-AlbertHans-Albert.Eckel (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4581-6375
Date:25 June 2018
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Space Debris, Debris Removal, Pulsed Laser, Laser Safety, Perigee lowering, Heat Accumulation, Momentum Transfer
Event Title:5th European Workshop on Space Debris Modeling and Remediation
Event Location:Paris, Frankreich
Event Type:Workshop
Event Dates:25.-27. Juni 2018
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:fixed-wing aircraft
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AR - Aircraft Research
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Laser Research and Technology (old)
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Technical Physics > Studies and Concepts
Deposited By: Scharring, Stefan
Deposited On:26 Nov 2018 16:42
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:21

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