Accession Number:



Protecting America's High Ground: A Public-Private Response to Space Debris

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

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The United States is reliant on the capabilities provided by satellite technology for nearly every facet of society. A sustained loss of satellite capabilities due to any service outages will have a significant negative impact on the nations homeland security. The areas affected include communication, financial transactions, intelligence gathering, internet access, and weather surveillance. Existing domestic and international policy has been insufficient in managing debris growth. The removal of large debris from congested orbits through active debris removal ADR is now necessary to prevent future collision events that will damage or destroy operational satellites that may possibly render certain regions of space unusable for generations. To safeguard its satellites and critical services they provide to homeland security, the United States should develop a domestic debris removal program using the established publicprivate partnership model that NASA has leveraged over the previous 15 years. This model has reduced developments costs and risks of schedule delays, and also stimulates growth in the private space sector and creates additional tax revenues. Furthermore, the commercial sector possesses knowledge and experience in the field of on-orbit servicing, afield with similar technical challenges to debris removal that can provide a foundation for the development of ADR systems. The United States must begin remediation by partnering with the private sector.


Subject Categories:

  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Astronautics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]