The Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, Calif., has considerable
resources available for the media related to the upcoming deorbiting
of the Mir space station: a debris study center, an in-depth Web site,
a video depiction of the event, space debris artifacts and subject

The company has extensive experience studying how objects behave
on orbit and re-entering the atmosphere, having been directly involved
in Defense Department space programs since 1960.

For the Mir re-entry, engineers at Aerospace will be “fusing” data
received from a variety of sources and creating a characterization of
the station’s breakup for NASA. The characterization will be used to
enhance the space community’s understanding of how objects from space
break up upon re-entry.

Web Site and Video

The Aerospace Corp. has launched a new Web site that provides
comprehensive information on the re-entry of the Mir space station.

The address is A 3-D
animation also is available.

Debris Study Center

The company established the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris
Studies in 1997 to focus the corporation’s research and technology
applications on the areas of space debris, collision avoidance and
re-entry breakup, and to provide a single point of contact for
organizations seeking to take advantage of the more than 40 years of
Aerospace experience in these technical areas and others.


The center director is William H. Ailor. He spent 15 years in the
flight mechanics and performance analysis areas, conducting analyses
on spacecraft re-entry and re-entry breakup. He received a NASA Group
Achievement Award in 1992 for contributions to understanding the
re-entry breakup characteristics of the Space Shuttle external tank.

He served as chair of the ad hoc Reentry Subpanel of the
Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel, which provided independent
assessments to the White House on the safety of space missions
containing radioactive materials. Missions examined under his
chairmanship include Galileo, Ulysses, Mars Pathfinder and Cassini.

Other experts from The Aerospace Corp. are Russell P. Patera and
Wayne P. Hallman. Patera is performing analytical work in the areas of
orbit collision probability as well as space vehicle re-entry and
breakup. Hallman is involved in re-entry trajectory simulation and
re-entry breakup analysis.

Photo Op

A 600-pound rocket fuel tank that survived re-entry into Earth’s
atmosphere and landed in a Texas farm field in 1997 is on display. A
70-pound titanium pressure sphere from the rocket also is available.

Contacting Experts

News media representatives who wish to discuss re-entry issues
associated with spacecraft such as Mir can contact Dave Jonta,
310/336-5041,, or Maggie Parsons, 310/336-6804,, to arrange for an interview.

The Aerospace Corp., with headquarters in El Segundo, is an
independent, nonprofit company that provides objective technical
analyses and assessments for national security space programs and
selected civil and commercial space programs in the national interest.