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Abstract
A deorbiting 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 areatomass 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 semimajor axis and areatomass ratio can be found and used to determine the size of balloon required for deorbiting from circular orbits of different altitudes. A system design of the device is performed and the feasibility of the proposed deorbiting strategy is assessed and compared to the use of conventional thrusters. The use of solar radiation pressure to increase the orbit eccentricity enables passive deorbiting from significantly higher altitudes than conventional drag augmentation devices.
Original language  English 

Number of pages  8 
Publication status  Published  4 Apr 2011 
Event  8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites  Berlin, Germany Duration: 4 Apr 2011 → 8 Apr 2011 
Conference
Conference  8th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites 

Country/Territory  Germany 
City  Berlin 
Period  4/04/11 → 8/04/11 
Keywords
 cubeSat mission
 aerodynamic drag
 deorbiting strategy
 solar radiation pressure
 analytical model
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Dive into the research topics of 'A passive deorbiting strategy for high altitude CubeSat missions using a deployable reflective balloon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.Projects
 1 Finished

VISIONSPACE  VISIONARY SPACE SYSTEMS: ORBITAL DYNAMICS AT EXTREMES OF SPACECRAFT LENGTH SCALE (ERC ADVANCED GRANT)
McInnes, C.
European Commission  FP7  European Research Council
1/02/09 → 30/09/14
Project: Research