Variation of the area-to-mass ratio of high area-to-mass ratio space debris objects
Article first published online: 29 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 419, Issue 4, pages 3521–3528, February 2012
How to Cite
Früh, C. and Schildknecht, T. (2012), Variation of the area-to-mass ratio of high area-to-mass ratio space debris objects. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 419: 3521–3528. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19990.x
- Issue published online: 9 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 29 NOV 2011
- Accepted 2011 October 12. Received 2011 October 11; in original form 2011 August 10
- methods: data analysis;
- celestial mechanics;
- minor planets, asteroids: individual: space debris
An unexpected space debris population with the unique property of a very high area-to-mass ratio (HAMR) was detected in 2004 by Schildknecht and colleagues. Ever since, attempts have been made to investigate the dynamical properties of these objects further. Their orbits are heavily perturbed by the effect of direct radiation pressure, and unknown attitude motion complicates orbit prediction. The area-to-mass ratio of the objects seems to be unstable over time. Only sparse optical data are available for these objects in drift orbits.
This paper makes use of optical observations of five HAMR objects, observed over several years, and investigates the variation of their area-to-mass ratio and orbital parameters. A normalized orbit determination setup is established and validated with two low- and two high-area-to-mass-ratio-objects, to ensure that comparable orbits over longer time spans are determined even with sparse optical data.