MASTER (Meteoroid And Space debris Terrestrial Environment Reference)
The fundamentals of the work in field of space engineering at the Institute of Space Systems are the skills and applications of basic and advanced orbital mechanics. A major research aspect is the modelling of behavior and distribution of space debris (“space junk”) in Earth orbit. Within the MASTER project (ESA's Meteoroid and Space Debris Terrestrial Environment Reference Model), detailed research on the space debris environment was carried out. MASTER is the European model to assess the risk of high velocity impacts of space debris on satellites in Earth orbit. MASTER was developed under the direction of the Institute of Space Systems in cooperation with several European partners on behalf of ESA. MASTER is using a highly complex model of the space environment to calculate the spatial densities and velocity distributions of space debris including natural meteoroids. Though, it provides a realistic view of the near-Earth space debris environment. Consequently, it allows users to analyze the probability of high collision impacts on satellites.
MASTER-2009 is one of the leading models for the representation of the near-Earth space debris environment since it accounts for all relevant sources of space debris. The model is based on the simulation of events, i.e. explosions or collisions of space vehicles, where individual fragments have been released.
Debris and meteoroid sources considered in the MASTER model
During the simulations, clouds of different fragments are generated and their distributions over time are analyzed. The different orbits of the simulated objects are thereby calculated continuously taking into account all occurring perturbations up to a certain point in time. This allows to determine the distribution of space debris at the present time. Important events where space debris are generated are e.g. release of slag particles from solid rocket motor engines, explosions of upper stages as well as NaK coolant release from nuclear reactors. Recent investigations in the field of space debris even indicate the degradation of multi-layer insulation, which are also processed by the MASTER model. Consequently and among other things, users can derive flux density distributions of all space debris in LEO and for altitudes up to the geostationary orbit.
Evaluation of spatial object density in LEO for objects larger than 1 mm in diameter.
Flux evaluation of impact velocity at a sun-synchronous orbit for an object diameter spectrum
A particular challenge is to ensure compliance of the predicted object flux through the MASTER software with the observations of ground-based radars and telescopes. Therefore, ESA-PROOF 2009 was also developed under the direction of the Institute of Space Systems. PROOF is able to simulate observation campaigns and provides for a correct interpretation of the results based on the generated space debris population.
By requesting a free access to Space Debris User Portal, it is possible to obtain a digital version of the software.
1993 – 1995: MASTER´95
1995 – 1997: MASTER´97
1997 – 1999: MASTER´99
1999 – 2001: MASTER-2001
2003 – 2006: “Upgrade of the MASTER Model”, MASTER-2005
2008 – 2011: “Maintenance of the ESA MASTER Model”, MASTER-2009
2015 – now: “Enhancements of S/C fragmentation and environment evolution models”, MASTER
The current project is being carried out under ESA contract in cooperation with the following partners:
Horstmann, A., Stoll, E., Investigation of propagation accuracy effects within the modeling of space debris, 7th European Conference on Space Debris 2017, 18-21 April 2017, Darmstadt, Germany
Wiedemann, C., Gamper, E., Horstmann, A., Braun, V., Stoll, E., The contribution of NaK Droplets to the space debris environment, 7th European Conference on Space Debris 2017, 18-21 April 2017, Darmstadt, Germany
Wiedemann, C., Gamper, E., Horstmann, A., Braun, V., Stoll, E., Release of liquid metal droplets from Cosmos 1818 and 1867, 67th International Astronautical Congress 2016 (IAC 2016), 26-30 September 2016, Guadalajara, Mexico, paper IAC-16.A6.2.9.
Wiedemann, C, Gamper, E., Horstmann, A., Braun, V., Stoll, E., Analyse Möglicher Partikeleinschläge auf die Reaktoren der Satelliten Kosmos 1818 und 1867, Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress, Braunschweig, 13. - 15. September 2016, paper DLRK 2016-420016.
Wiedemann, C., Lorenz, J., Radtke, J., Kebschull, C., Horstmann, A., Stoll, E., Space debris - modeling and detectability, 21st International Symposium on High Power Laser Systems and Applications, Gmunden, Austria, 5th to 9th of September 2016, SPIE paper GC100-40.
Horstmann, A., Wiedemann, C., Stoll, E., Braun, V., Krag, H., "Introducing Upcoming Enhancements of ESA’s MASTER", AIAA Space 2016, September 13 - 16, 2016, Long Beach, CA
Wiedemann C., Horstmann A., Kebschull C, Flegel S., Stoll E., Die Auswirkung vorsätzlich herbeigeführter Fragmentationsereignisse auf die Weltraummüllumgebung, Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress, Rostock, Germany, 2015.