2022 年 20 巻 p. 10-15
This paper aims to assess the risk of mission termination for a large constellation of satellites in a low-Earth orbit. Many large constellations will be deployed to provide broadband network services using thousands of satellites. There is concern that such large constellations will have a serious impact on the long-term sustainability of outer space activities due to the rapid increase in population. First, therefore, the authors conducted an assessment under nominal activities (referred to as “business-as-usual”) on the basis of a prediction by ESA’s MASTER-2009 and NASA standard breakup model 2001 revision. The assessment found that nearly one catastrophic collision may happen in a large constellation, generating more than two million fragments as small as 1 mm in size. Second, the authors conducted a further assessment assuming a hypothetical collision of a satellite in a large constellation using the NASA standard breakup model and a spherical finite element model adopted in ESA’s MASTER-2009. In consequence, another catastrophic collision may happen to a large constellation, generating approximately a half-million fragments as small as 1 mm in size. Therefore, such catastrophic collisions and resulting secondary collisions should be prevented for large constellations.