Abstract: Satellites have to operate in a hostile space environment that poses numerous threats from natural space material and man-made space objects. The variability of the space weather environment and the proliferation of space debris constitute major hazards for spacecraft in Earth orbit.
SumbandilaSAT, South Africa’s micro-satellite, was built with Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) components and was launched in a bid to harness Earth observation applications for sustainable development. COTS components though cheaper, are more vulnerable to the effects of space weather than space-qualified components. Assessing the feasibility of this COTS-based approach by examining the in-orbit performance of SumbandilaSAT is therefore imperative to the development of future South African indigenous satellites.
I have modeled the environmental impositions on SumbandilaSAT expected during its operational lifetime with which I assessed the in-orbit risks due to natural space material. Its failure probability due to hypervelocity impacts, and the probability of collision with identified conjuncting space objects have also been estimated. The results are presented.
About the speaker: Cj Nwosa holds a bachelors (hons) in Astrophysics and Space Science from University of Nigeria/University of Cape Town. He recently handed in his Masters thesis titled "Orbital risk assessment for SumbandilaSat". His growing interest in Space Technology and its applications has driven him to be a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council, an international volunteer organisation representing young space enthusiasts to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, Space Agencies, and related entities. He has been involved in experimental rocketry, satellite orbit analysis, space weather, and planetary wave projects.