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Before a new satellite is launched, its desired orbital altitude, inclination is determined. Now with thousands of satellites already in orbit at different altitudes, how do we know if our desired position is actually available and safe for both our satellite and others already in orbit ?

I am imagining a Cubesat with propulsion capabilities, before its orbit is raised, what are some of the things one need to consider to avoid risks of collisions ?

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The Registration Convention provides a list of objects in earth orbit. You'd need to use this list to make sure that you aren't going to collide with anything currently in orbit. A Collision On Launch Assessment (COLA) must also be performed prior to launch to make sure you don't hit anything on the way up.

From there, NASA's guidelines on cubesats, requires that cubesat operators produce and obtain approval of an Orbital Debris Assessment Report (ODAR). It is a document that:

assures all interested parties that your CubeSat won’t pose an unacceptable hazard to other orbiting spacecraft, will deorbit in a reasonable amount of time, and that no unacceptably large piece of your CubeSat is going to survive reentry when it deorbits and burns up in the atmosphere.

Some other steps are probably necessary in terms of securing the ability to communicate with your spacecraft. From what I was able to gather, space is fairly self-regulated, though renegade launches do happen.

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