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Orbital Debris Study for Microsat-R Breakup in March 2019

version 1.0.3 (618 KB) by Meg Noah
A back-of-envelop (K14 education) model of the Microsat-R debris is presented with Gabbard Diagram of TLE and model orbital properties.


Updated 20 Apr 2019

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A Gabbard diagram illustrates the changes in orbital characteristics of fragments of debris from a satellite (natural or artificial) collision and is useful for estimating when fragments will deorbit. In this model, assumptions are made about the system mass and density to predict the size, mass, and density of fragments exist. These are compared to the TLE published by Kelso on The mass and size of debris for the TLE components is estimated, but this estimation should be taken with caution as it depends greatly on the assumptions of system mass and density (and statistical bin sizes for the mass distribution). The number of fragments in the system that are larger than a paperclip mass (1g) is shown. The future work of this model will include orbital properties of the statistically simulated debris and when they will de-orbit. This is a 2D model. This model is offered for educational purposes.

Note: The annotated mass values correspond to the deltaV velocity change which is the most probable velocity change for a given mass. The mass could be different because their is a distribution of deltaV modeled for each mass. Using the most probable velocity mass enables estimations to be made.

In the future an update will includean analysis tool for figuring out the deltaV of the component debris from the TLE.

Cite As

Meg Noah (2019). Orbital Debris Study for Microsat-R Breakup in March 2019 (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

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modified cover image


Clean-up and two new plots with DeltaV's


Clarifying the description

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2019a
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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