State of the Art

On average, over the past decade, a space object above 800 kg has been re-entering every week, e.g. ESA’s GOCE in 2013 and NASA’s UARS in 2011. Most of these objects do not totally demise during atmospheric re-entry. Fragments may survive and reach the ground where they pose a risk to people and things. Space agencies are currently enforcing constraints on the casualty risk for the re-entry event and different re-entry analysis tools have been developed by agencies, industries and research centres to assess this risk. At the same time, new approaches to the design of spacecraft, aimed at increasing the probability of complete demise during re-entry, offer an effective way to meet these constraints. Thus re-entry analyses approaches have to be embedded into the design process since the very beginning, to evaluate the demise probability and casualty risk of different configurations. Currently, most of the efforts are focused on structural design for demise techniques, the improvement of high fidelity and low fidelity models used to predict the aero-thermal performance and thermo-mechanical response of objects, the implementation of efficient uncertainty quantification techniques for a more correct characterisation of the risks, and better understanding and modelling of material properties. Plus, since demisability competes against the survivability of the object during its mission lifetime, design for demise can be seen as a multi-criteria design problem.


WP2 covers all activities related to the re-entry of space objects and their possible demise. It includes all multi-fidelity and multi-physics simulations, the possible design of these objects and their effect on the pollution of our planet.