Consequences of Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines on Geostationary Transfer Orbit

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F. Alby; B. Deguine; C. Bonnal; P. M. Ratte (2006), JBIS, 59, 3-10

Refcode: 2006.59.3
Keywords: Space debris, mitigation guidelines, transfer orbit, luni-solar attraction, atmospheric drag, orbital lifetime

The space debris issue has conducted the main Agencies to adopt mitigation guidelines with the objective to reduce the population of objects orbiting the Earth. In the particular case of the geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) where the objects regularly cross the GEO and LEO regions, disposal options shall be taken considering the natural evolution of the orbits, their long term stability together with the possible consequences on the performances of the launcher and on the cost of the positioning operations of the satellite. In a first step, the existing guidelines are examined to identify the rules applicable to the case of launcher upper stages. Possible improvements of the mitigation standards are also discussed. In a second step, the evolution of a typical geostationary transfer orbit under the effect of the natural perturbations is presented. A particular attention is given to the relative position of the Sun and Moon, which corresponds to possible constraints on launch time or launch date. Finally the paper examines the consequences of this natural evolution and presents recommendations concerning the choice of the geostationary transfer orbit together with the end of life options.

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