Automatic planning and scheduling of active removal of non-operational satellites in low earth orbit

Juan Manuel Romero Martin, Marilena Di-Carlo, Massimiliano Vasile

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Abstract

In this paper two novel strategies to automatically design an optimized mission to de-orbit up to 10 non-cooperative objects per year are proposed, targeting the region within 800 and 1400 km altitude in LEO. The underlying idea is to use a single servicing spacecraft to de-orbit several objects applying two different approaches.The first strategy is analogous to the Traveling Salesman Problem: The servicing spacecraft rendezvous with multiple objects in order to physically attach a de-orbiting kit that performs the re-entry. The second strategy is analogous to the Vehicle Routing Problem: The servicing spacecraft rendezvous with an object, spiral it down to a lower altitude orbit, and spiral up to the next target. In order to maximize the number of de-orbited non-operative objects with minimum propellant consumption, an optimal sequence of targets is identified using a bio-inspired incremental automatic planning and scheduling discrete optimization algorithm. The incremental planning and scheduling algorithm uses a model based on optimal low-Thrust transfer between objects. The optimization of the transfers is realized using a direct method and an analytical propagator based on a first-order solution of the perturbed Keplerian motion. The analytical model takes into account the perturbations deriving from the J2 gravitational effect and the atmospheric drag.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication66th International Astronautical Congress 2015, IAC 2015
Subtitle of host publicationSpace - The Gateway for Mankind's Future
Pages5334-5348
Number of pages15
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2015
Event66th International Astronautical Congress 2015: Space - The Gateway for Mankind's Future, IAC 2015 - Jerusalem, Israel
Duration: 12 Oct 201516 Oct 2015

Conference

Conference66th International Astronautical Congress 2015: Space - The Gateway for Mankind's Future, IAC 2015
CountryIsrael
CityJerusalem
Period12/10/1516/10/15

Keywords

  • non-operational satellites
  • orbits
  • spacecraft
  • vehicle routing
  • optimization

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    Martin, J. M. R., Di-Carlo, M., & Vasile, M. (2015). Automatic planning and scheduling of active removal of non-operational satellites in low earth orbit. In 66th International Astronautical Congress 2015, IAC 2015: Space - The Gateway for Mankind's Future (Vol. 7, pp. 5334-5348)