Matthew Marcus

PhD Student

Department of Aerospace Engineering
2101 Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory
Phone: (301) 405-8562 | E-mail: mmarcus2 (at)

Research Interests

Orbital debris remediation, Wireless power transfer, advanced spacecraft propulsion systems, space robotics, space systems.

Dissertation Topic

System Trade Study of Space Debris Remediation Technologies Using a Genetic Algorithm.


The increasing population of debris objects in Low Earth Orbit is a growing problem that threatens to damage or destroy many functioning satellites in these orbits. Even if no new satellites are launched into Earth orbit, objects already on orbit (both debris and functioning satellites) will collide with each other, fragmenting and further increasing the debris population in a chain reaction known as an ablation cascade. Concepts have been proposed for on-orbit active debris removal (ADR) vehicles, which would deorbit defunct satellites and other large debris (such as spent upper stages) at a rate sufficient to lower the debris population and avoid an ablation cascade. This work seeks to develop a set of design tools for such vehicles, and using a genetic algorithm determine the most efficient designs. The research results will provide insight into the vehicle design characteristics and mission architecture that maximize the efficiency with which ADR can be performed.