Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Anselmo L., Pardini C. Computational methods for reentry trajectories and risk assessment. In: Advances in Space Research, vol. 35 (7) pp. 1343 - 1352. Elsevier, 2005.
The trajectory modeling of uncontrolled satellites close to reentry in the atmosphere is still a challenging activity. Tracking data may be sparse and not particularly accurate, the objects= complicate shape and unknown attitude evolution may render difficult the aerodynamic computations and, last but not the least, the models used to predict the air density at the altitudes of interest, as a function of solar and geomagnetic activity, are affected by significant uncertainties. After a brief overview of the relevance of the risk related to satellite reentries and debris survival down to the ground, the paper describes some of the methods and techniques developed in support of the reentry predictions carried out for civil protection purposes. An appropriate management of the intrinsic uncertainties of the problem is in fact critical for the dissemination of the information, avoiding, as much as possible, misunderstandings and unjustified alarm. Special attention is paid to the evaluation of the risk, the availability of orbit determinations, the uncertainties of the residual lifetime estimation, and the definition of reentry and risk windows. When possible, the discussion is supported by real data, results and examples, often based on the authors= direct experience and researches.
Subject Satellite reentry
Debris survivability
Reentry predictions
Risk evaluation
Modeling uncertainties
Reentry and risk windows
J.2 Physical Sciences and Engineering

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