Orbital Operations Safety

Tommaso Sgobba*, Firooz A. Allahdadi, Fernand Alby, David Finkleman, Erwin Mooij, Ron Noomen, William Lark Howorth, John B. Bacon, Charles Gray, Steven L. Koontz, Leonard Kramer, Ronald R. Mikatarian, Carlos E. Soares, Nicholas Johnson, Eugene Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This chapter deals with some key topics of orbital safety. It starts with an overview of the issue of space traffic control and space situational awareness, and then proceeds to address conjunction analyses and collision avoidance maneuvers (CAM), including for the International Space Station. Another kind of collision risk discussed is the jettison of discarded hardware. The chapter then covers rendezvous and docking/berthing operations. Collision safety risks, their causes and consequences, and the measures for protection are discussed in detail. The chapter also covers the issues of space vehicles charging and contamination hazards, including the shock hazard for astronauts involved in extravehicular activities. Finally, the chapter presents end-of life mitigation measures and techniques for space debris removal, such as space tugs, drag devices and electrodynamic propulsion. © 2013

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSafety Design for Space Operations
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)9780080969213
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Collision avoidance maneuvers (CAM)
  • Collision risk
  • Conjunction analysis
  • Docking
  • Geostationary orbit (GEO)
  • Low Earth orbit (LEO)
  • Orbital disturbances
  • Rendezvous
  • Situational awareness systems
  • Space debris


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