Space debris research in the U.S. department of defense

David B. Spencer, W. Spencer Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A research program was established by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) at the U.S. Air Force's Phillips Laboratory (PL) in 1990 to assess the small orbital debris environment, characterize the hazard it might pose to DoD assets, and develop new mitigation techniques to minimize the creation of debris. This program is comprised of three areas of activity: debris measurements, debris modeling, and debris mitigation. Debris measurements are utilized to understand the current environment and to observe growth trends. Debris modeling allows for estimates of the unmeasured population and its possible effects on space operations. Debris mitigation studies are conducted to develop strategies for debris minimization and protection. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of the space debris research and analysis capabilities that exist in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number393
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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