Vignyana Kathegalu

The Challenge of Orbital Debris

Speaker: Dr. Mark J. Matney (NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.)

Date and time
RRI Auditorium


Since the beginning of the Space Age in 1957, the continuous launching of satellites has resulted in an accumulation of discarded objects that now present problems for the safe use of space.  Explosions and collisions have created debris that threaten the operation of satellites and endanger human activities in Earth orbit.  This talk will review the history and challenges of measuring, modeling, and mitigating orbital debris risks and how to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities.


Dr Mark J Matney is the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Strategic Modeler at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Since 1992, he has been involved in all aspects of measuring and modeling Earth’s orbital debris environment and has developed many mathematical tools to interpret measurement data and incorporate it into orbital debris models, as well as using orbital debris models to improve measurement techniques. He has led the development of NASA’s Orbital Debris Environment Model ORDEM.
He attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1985 with a B.S. in Astronomy and Physics. He received his M.S. (1990) and Ph.D. (1992) from the Space Physics and Astronomy Department of Rice University in Houston, Texas.
For his pioneering work in orbital debris studies, asteroid 10276 Matney was named after him.