(2) replacement cost, insurance premiums, and other measures of the cost incurred to protect a spacecraft understate the full cost to society as a whole if that spacecraft, damaged by a meteoroid or orbital debris, itself generates debris that then creates potential harm to other spacecraft.

Recommendation: NASA should lead public discussion of the space debris problem to emphasize debris as a long-term concern for society that must continue to be addressed today. Necessary steps include improvements in long-term modeling, better measurements, more regular updates of the debris environment models, and other actions to better characterize the long-term evolution of the debris environment.

Recommendation: NASA should join with other agencies to develop and provide more explicit information about the costs of debris avoidance, mitigation, surveillance, and response. These costs should be inventoried and monitored over time to provide critical information for measuring and monitoring the economic impact of the meteoroid and orbital debris problem, signaling when mitigation guidelines may need revision, and helping to evaluate investments in technology for active debris removal.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement