A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon

Charlotte Lücking, Camilla Colombo, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

A de-orbiting strategy for small satellites, in particular CubeSats, is proposed which exploits the effect of solar radiation pressure to increase the spacecraft orbit eccentricity so that the perigee falls below an altitude where atmospheric drag will cause the spacecraft orbit to naturally decay. This is achieved by fitting the spacecraft with an inflatable reflective balloon. Once this is fully deployed, the overall area-to-mass ratio of the spacecraft is increased; hence solar radiation pressure and aerodynamic drag have a greatly increased effect on the spacecraft orbit. An analytical model of the orbit evolution due to solar radiation pressure and the J2 effect as a Hamiltonian system shows the evolution of an initially circular orbit. The maximum reachable orbit eccentricity as a function of semi-major axis and area-to-mass ratio can be found and used to determine the size of balloon required for de-orbiting from circular orbits of different altitudes. A system design of the device is performed and the feasibility of the proposed de-orbiting strategy is assessed and compared to the use of conventional thrusters. The use of solar radiation pressure to increase the orbit eccentricity enables passive de-orbiting from significantly higher altitudes than conventional drag augmentation devices.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2011
Event8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 4 Apr 20118 Apr 2011

Conference

Conference8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites
CountryGermany
CityBerlin
Period4/04/118/04/11

Fingerprint

Balloons
Orbits
Spacecraft
Solar radiation
Drag
Aerodynamic drag
Hamiltonians
Analytical models
Systems analysis
Satellites

Keywords

  • cubeSat mission
  • aerodynamic drag
  • de-orbiting strategy
  • solar radiation pressure
  • analytical model

Cite this

Lücking, C., Colombo, C., & McInnes, C. (2011). A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon. Paper presented at 8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites, Berlin, Germany.
Lücking, Charlotte ; Colombo, Camilla ; McInnes, Colin. / A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon. Paper presented at 8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites, Berlin, Germany.8 p.
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Lücking, C, Colombo, C & McInnes, C 2011, 'A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon' Paper presented at 8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites, Berlin, Germany, 4/04/11 - 8/04/11, .

A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon. / Lücking, Charlotte; Colombo, Camilla; McInnes, Colin.

2011. Paper presented at 8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites, Berlin, Germany.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

TY - CONF

T1 - A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon

AU - Lücking, Charlotte

AU - Colombo, Camilla

AU - McInnes, Colin

N1 - WINNER OF BEST PAPER AWARD.

PY - 2011/4/4

Y1 - 2011/4/4

N2 - A de-orbiting strategy for small satellites, in particular CubeSats, is proposed which exploits the effect of solar radiation pressure to increase the spacecraft orbit eccentricity so that the perigee falls below an altitude where atmospheric drag will cause the spacecraft orbit to naturally decay. This is achieved by fitting the spacecraft with an inflatable reflective balloon. Once this is fully deployed, the overall area-to-mass ratio of the spacecraft is increased; hence solar radiation pressure and aerodynamic drag have a greatly increased effect on the spacecraft orbit. An analytical model of the orbit evolution due to solar radiation pressure and the J2 effect as a Hamiltonian system shows the evolution of an initially circular orbit. The maximum reachable orbit eccentricity as a function of semi-major axis and area-to-mass ratio can be found and used to determine the size of balloon required for de-orbiting from circular orbits of different altitudes. A system design of the device is performed and the feasibility of the proposed de-orbiting strategy is assessed and compared to the use of conventional thrusters. The use of solar radiation pressure to increase the orbit eccentricity enables passive de-orbiting from significantly higher altitudes than conventional drag augmentation devices.

AB - A de-orbiting strategy for small satellites, in particular CubeSats, is proposed which exploits the effect of solar radiation pressure to increase the spacecraft orbit eccentricity so that the perigee falls below an altitude where atmospheric drag will cause the spacecraft orbit to naturally decay. This is achieved by fitting the spacecraft with an inflatable reflective balloon. Once this is fully deployed, the overall area-to-mass ratio of the spacecraft is increased; hence solar radiation pressure and aerodynamic drag have a greatly increased effect on the spacecraft orbit. An analytical model of the orbit evolution due to solar radiation pressure and the J2 effect as a Hamiltonian system shows the evolution of an initially circular orbit. The maximum reachable orbit eccentricity as a function of semi-major axis and area-to-mass ratio can be found and used to determine the size of balloon required for de-orbiting from circular orbits of different altitudes. A system design of the device is performed and the feasibility of the proposed de-orbiting strategy is assessed and compared to the use of conventional thrusters. The use of solar radiation pressure to increase the orbit eccentricity enables passive de-orbiting from significantly higher altitudes than conventional drag augmentation devices.

KW - cubeSat mission

KW - aerodynamic drag

KW - de-orbiting strategy

KW - solar radiation pressure

KW - analytical model

M3 - Paper

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Lücking C, Colombo C, McInnes C. A passive de-orbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon. 2011. Paper presented at 8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites, Berlin, Germany.