Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Kira J. Abercromby


This thesis will present the effects of the orbital debris evolution in two key areas: the geosynchronous disposal orbit regime known as “graveyard” and the two geopotential wells found in 105◦ W and 75◦ E longitude bins. After developing a GEO specific orbit propagator for NASA Johnson Space Center’s Orbital Debris Of- fice, collisions were simulated throughout these regimes using a low velocity breakup model. This model considered the effects of perturbations particularly non-spherical Earth effects (specifically sectorial and zonal harmonics), lunar effects, third body effects and solar radiation pressure effects. The results show that CDPROP does well in simulating the presence of the Eastern and Western geopotential wells, as well as catching drifting GEO objects. It does not do as well in catching East-West trapped objects. Three collision test cases were then simulated in graveyard and the East and West geopotential wells.