Modern radar techniques and the hazard of meteoroids to space platforms

Main Article Content

G. Cevolani


Modern radar techniques, and in particular ground based radars, are a powerful tool to observe space objects (natural meteoroids and artificial space debris) on account of their all-weather and day-and-night performance. Natural meteoroids are an important component of the near-Earth space environment and represent a potential risk for all Earth-orbiting space platforms, which could significantly increase in coincidence of enhanced (outburst or storm) activity of meteoroid streams. A review of the currently active meteoroid streams suggests that a few streams have shown a quasi-periodic outburst activity in the two last centuries and may even undergo a storm activity in the next few years. The Leonids, the most intense of meteor showers, present a potentially serious damage to spacecraft in November of 1998 and 1999, after the perihelion passage of the parent body. Impact probability values of storm meteoroids on space platforms in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) were calculated using the data recorded during systematic observational campaigns carried out by the FS radar facility Bologna-Lecce in Italy. Meteoroid flux predictions and directionality, and investigation on impact parameters at very high velocities (up to 71 km/s) for penetration, charge production and plasma generation, are relevant aspects to develop strategies for safe deployment of the near Earrth-orbiting space platforms.

Article Details

How to Cite
Cevolani, G. (1998) “Modern radar techniques and the hazard of meteoroids to space platforms”, Annals of Geophysics, 41(5-6). doi: 10.4401/ag-3819.