Proposed development of Department of Defense (DOD) debris mitigation guidelines

W. Spencer Campbell, Marion E. Sorge, David B. Spencer, Scott R. Maethner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent events have elevated the need for organizations participating in military space activities to consider mitigating the effects of space debris on their systems and the environment. To meet this end, the USAF Phillips Laboratory is developing a debris mitigation handbook. The handbook will serve to define the questions which spacecraft designers, test planners, and operators can address in mitigating the effects of debris to assure minimal impact on their systems and on other users of space through proper design and operations. To support space policy, the DOD should establish cost-effective guidelines that can be considered during design and test of spacecraft and launch vehicles in order to minimize or eliminate generation of unnecessary debris during operations. A survey was used to gather information on the practices used by DOD systems program offices, test and evaluation agencies, range safety offices, and space system operators in determining debris effects on planned systems and tests, mitigation options, and impacts to operations. These practices included minimizing launch and operational debris, reducing risk of on-orbit explosions and collisions, utilizing space and missile test design procedures to minimize collision and environmental hazards, and employing design practices to increase system survivability with respect to space debris. This work complements NASA's progress in defining guidelines in response to NASA Management Instruction (NMI) 1700.8. The revised Interagency Working Group (IWG) Report on Orbital Debris recommended NASA and DOD work together to develop and review debris mitigation guidelines. NASA and DOD plan to consolidate efforts and host a meeting with industry to discuss a joint US Government/Industry handbook. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of the development of debris mitigation guidelines for DOD needs and lay the groundwork for future national guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Volume93 PART 1
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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