A passive satellite deorbiting strategy for medium Earth orbit using solar radiation pressure and the J(2) effect

Charlotte Lucking, Camilla Colombo, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The growing population of space debris poses a serious risk to the future of space flight. To effectively manage the increase of debris in orbit, end-of life disposal has become a key requirement for future missions. This poses
a challenge for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) spacecraft which require a large Δv to re-enter the atmosphere or reach the geostationary graveyard orbit. This paper further explores a passive strategy based on the joint effects of solar radiation pressure and the Earth’s oblateness acting on a high area-to-mass ratio object. The concept was previously presented as an analytical planar model. This paper uses a full 3D model to validate the analytical results numerically for equatorial circular orbits first, then investigating higher inclinations. It is shown that for
higher inclinations the initial position of the Sun and right ascension of the ascending node become increasingly important. A region of very low required area-to-mass ratio is identified in the parameter space of a and inclination which occurs for altitudes below 10,000 km.
LanguageEnglish
Pages197-206
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume77
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Fingerprint

passive satellites
Earth orbits
radiation pressure
solar radiation
Solar radiation
inclination
Orbits
Earth (planet)
Satellites
mass ratios
equatorial orbits
orbits
space debris
space flight
disposal
circular orbits
Space debris
debris
spacecraft
sun

Keywords

  • satellite trajectory
  • deorbiting strategy
  • MEO
  • solar radiation pressure

Cite this

Lucking, Charlotte ; Colombo, Camilla ; McInnes, Colin. / A passive satellite deorbiting strategy for medium Earth orbit using solar radiation pressure and the J(2) effect. In: Acta Astronautica. 2012 ; Vol. 77. pp. 197-206.
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A passive satellite deorbiting strategy for medium Earth orbit using solar radiation pressure and the J(2) effect. / Lucking, Charlotte; Colombo, Camilla; McInnes, Colin.

In: Acta Astronautica, Vol. 77, 08.2012, p. 197-206.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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