Reentry of Space Debris from Low Earth Orbit by Pulsed Nd:YAG Laser

H. K. Al-Zaidi, C.R. Phipps, M. J. Al-Bermani


This research studies the orbital dynamics of space debris in near earth orbit and calculates its respective lifetime. The orbital dynamics of space debris is closely examined in near earth orbit whereby (apogee altitude ha=1200 km and perigee altitude hp=200 km). In addition, the lifetime of the space debris is calculated using the influence of the friction force exerted on the atmospheric particles with debris dimensions measuring between (1-10 cm). In this study, the Drag Thermospheric Models (DTM78 and DTM94) are used because of their dependence on solar and geomagnetic activities, and pulsed lasers are utilized to interact with Aluminum 2024 particles which are frequently employed in the structure of spacecraft and aerospace designs. A numerical analysis program (NaP1) was built to calculate the lifetime of space debris and its time of return to the atmosphere. It is then integrated with a second numerical analysis program (NaP2) developed using the Lax-Wendroff finite difference method to simulate the laser material interaction model. A high power Nd:YAG laser was applied to produce shock wave pressure in target. The results show that the maximum peak pressure occurs at 50 μm depth then slowly decays, the peak pressure increases with the increase of the laser intensity, and the optimum value of the momentum coupling coefficient (Cm) for the aluminum debris of size range (1-10 cm) is 6.5 dyn.s/j

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