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NASA Funds Three Projects to Study Orbital Debris

By Rachel Jewett | September 16, 2022

ESA space debris image

NASA announced funds for three projects to study orbital debris on Sept. 14, to help the agency tackle the space sustainability issue. The awards are through NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS). 

The first proposal is on adaptive space governance, by Richard Linares and Danielle Wood of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Moriba Jah of the University of Texas-Austin. 

A team consisting of Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation, Akhil Rao of Middlebury College, and Daniel Kaffine of the University of Colorado-Boulder was approved for an assessment model for satellite constellations and orbital debris. In addition, Patrice Kohl, Sergio Alvarez, and Philip Metzger of the University of Central Florida were approved for a project on communication and space debris.

“Orbital debris is one of the great challenges of our era,” said Bhavya Lal, associate administrator for the OTPS. “Maintaining our ability to use space is critical to our economy, our national security, and our nation’s science and technology enterprise. These awards will fund research to help us understand the dynamics of the orbital environment and show how we can develop policies to limit debris creation and mitigate the impact of existing debris.”