Retrieval Strategies for Dead ComSats for the Necropolis System Mission

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P. Grasset et al. (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.283-286

Refcode: 2017.70.283
Keywords: geosynchronous collisions, space debris mitigation

The problem of possible collisions between satellites in low Earth orbit and the resultant debris is now well known about.Less well known is that a similar problem may be arising in geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Some geosynchronous satellites have become uncontrolled for various reasons and represent a threat for operational spacecraft as the influence of the solar and lunar gravitational forces have made them drift towards "libration points". To reduce the risk of collision a mission has been proposed by R.Longstaff, M. Hempsell, S.Alexandra and this paper aim to analyse orbital strategies for a rendezvous with those "dead" satellites and perform their removal to a safe location. A detailed inclination change manoeuvre using low-thrust propulsion to rendezvous with 6 satellites in a drifting condition is presented, as well as a trajectory optimization for the mission. The elaboration of those strategies is based on previous papers on inclination change using low-thrust propulsion, carrying out simulation and verification using MATLAB software. The model used in the simulations includes the effect of Earth perturbations (secular and long-period) as well as the perturbations due to the Thrusters used in the inclination manoeuvre. An optimization is also conducted on the order of retrieval for the 6 targets as well as on the efficiency trigger for the inclination manoeuvre.

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