Published: 20 January 2023

Webinar with Eelco Doornbos (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Office, NL)

Game Changers Online Seminar
Space Weather

Satellite Drag Effects on Satellite Operations and Debris in Low Earth Orbit

Satellites in low Earth orbit travel through the uppermost layer of the neutral atmosphere, where their movement is affected by variations in the density and wind. These variations affect the amount of fuel required by active satellites to fulfil their mission, as well as the duration that debris objects remain in space. The number of objects in low Earth orbit has been rapidly increasing. With it, concerns over the long-term sustainability of the use of this region of space have been on the rise as well. The trend in the number of objects is due to the ever increasing relevance of satellite missions to our society, combined with technological developments such as miniaturisation and the rise of mega-constellations. But also in-orbit breakups of rocket stages and satellites have been major contributors. In this talk, the speaker will provide an overview of the physics and technology related to this topic, as well as the ways in which international collaboration will be essential to provide solutions.