A study of the relative velocities of small particles that are orbiting the earth

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Celestino, Claudia C.
Winter, Othon C. [UNESP]
Prado, Antonio F. B. de A.
Seago, J. H.
Neta, B.
Eller, T. J.
Pelletier, F. J.

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Univelt Inc


The evolution of the velocity of the particles with respect to the circular orbits of satellites that are around the Earth that the particles will cross, suggests a range of possible velocities of impact as a function of the altitude of the satellite. A study made from those results show that the maximum relative velocities occur at the semi-latus rectum, independent of the initial semi-major axis of the particle. Considering both the solar radiation pressure and the oblateness of the Earth, it is visible that a precession in the orbit occurs and there is also a variation in the eccentricity of the particle as a function of its orbital region and its size. This is important information, because the damage caused in a spacecraft depends on the impact velocity.



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Spaceflight Mechanics 2008, Vol 130, Pts 1 And 2. San Diego: Univelt Inc, v. 130, p. 467-+, 2008.