Concept-of-operations disposal analysis of spacecraft by gossamer structure

Malcolm Macdonald, Colin McInnes, Charlotte Bewick, Lourens Visagie, Vaios Lappas, Sven Erb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A gossamer structure for end-of-life disposal of spacecraft to mitigate space debris is considered in comparison with other end-of-life disposal concepts to determine when it would be preferable. A needs analysis, potential use cases, and concept-of-operations are developed. A survey of disposal strategies is presented for comparison prior to a down-selection of viable competing techniques; solar sailing, high and low-thrust propulsion, and electrodynamic tethers. A parametric comparison of the down-selection competing techniques is presented. Exploiting solar radiation pressure on the structure is of limited value. Atmospheric drag augmentation was found to be of most benefit for end-of-life disposal when an entirely passive means is required, allowing the gossamer device to act as a ‘fail-safe’. This is applicable to only low and medium mass spacecraft, or spacecraft that are unlikely to survive atmospheric re-entry, hence minimizing risk to human life. It does not significantly alter the operating ceiling altitude but does the maximum allowable end-of-life mass. Peak mass benefit occurs in the altitude range 550 – 650 km and is largely independent of de-orbit time.
LanguageEnglish
Pages517-525
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Early online date20 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Fingerprint

disposal
Spacecraft
spacecraft
Space debris
space debris
mass media
low thrust propulsion
electrodynamics
Reentry
Electrodynamics
Ceilings
high thrust
Solar radiation
Propulsion
ceilings
drag
reentry
Drag
solar radiation
radiation pressure

Keywords

  • end-of-life disposal
  • gossamer spacecraft
  • space debris removel missions
  • concept-of-operation
  • analysis

Cite this

Macdonald, Malcolm ; McInnes, Colin ; Bewick, Charlotte ; Visagie, Lourens ; Lappas, Vaios ; Erb, Sven. / Concept-of-operations disposal analysis of spacecraft by gossamer structure. In: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 2015 ; pp. 517-525.
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Concept-of-operations disposal analysis of spacecraft by gossamer structure. / Macdonald, Malcolm; McInnes, Colin; Bewick, Charlotte; Visagie, Lourens; Lappas, Vaios; Erb, Sven.

In: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 03.2015, p. 517-525.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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