Rapid-Integrations for Conjunction Assessment (RICA)

Case ID:

Rapid-Integrations for Conjunction Assessment (RICA) is a tool for efficiently and accurately predicting close approaches between space objects close to or in orbit of Earth, for use in planning launch and placement of satellites in Earth orbit.

Space around Earth is becoming progressively more congested, especially in the Low Earth Orbit band. According to NASA, there are approximately 23,000 pieces of space junk larger than a softball orbiting Earth, and there are over 100 million pieces a millimeter or larger. These pieces of junk are moving at high speed and can severely damage a satellite or spacecraft they hit. A collision can even cause more debris to form, worsening the problem; in 2009, a defunct spacecraft collided with another craft, resulting in 2,300 new pieces of debris.

As more and more satellites are launched into orbit, the risk from space debris increases. Multiple companies are putting “mega constellations” of satellites into orbit, consisting of many thousands of small satellites. When designing these constellations, it is important to place them in orbits that minimize the risk of collisions. This technology helps solve this problem by providing an efficient and reliable means of predicting the chance of collisions with space debris and other satellites during design of a satellite constellation.


  • Satellite constellation design
  • Satellite launch planning
  • Orbital collision prevention
  • Space situational awareness
  • Space traffic management
  • Space debris risk mitigation


  • Efficient
  • Accurate
  • Ideal for planning mega-constellations of satellites
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Lewis Humphreys
Licensing Manager, Eller College of Mngmt & OTT
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Renu Malhotra
Nathan Reiland
Aaron Rosengren