Reevaluation of the MASTER-2009 MLI and H-10 Debris Modeling
The current paper is an excerpt from the doctoral thesis "Multi-Layer Insulation as Contribution to Orbital Debris" written at the Institute of Aerospace Systems of the Technische Universität of Braunschweig. The Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) population included in ESA's MASTER-2009 (Meteoroid and Space-Debris Terrestrial Environment Reference) software is based on models for two mechanisms: One model simulates the release of MLI debris during fragmentation events while another estimates the continuous release of larger MLI pieces due to aging related deterioration of the material. The aim of the thesis was to revise the MLI models from the base up followed by a re-validation of the simulated MLI debris population. The validation is based on comparison to measurement data of the GEO and GTO debris environment obtained by the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) using ESA's Space Debris Telescope (ESASDT), the 1-m Zeiss telescope located at the Optical Ground Station (OGS) at the Teide Observatory at Tenerife, Spain. The re-validation led to the conclusion that MLI may cover a much smaller portion of the observed objects than previously published. Further investigation of the resulting discrepancy revealed that the contribution of altogether nine known Ariane H-10 upper stage explosion events which occurred between 1984 and 2002 has very likely been underestimated in past simulations.