End-of-life disposal concepts for libration point orbit and highly elliptical orbit missions

Camilla Colombo, Elisa Maria Alessi, Willem Johan van der Weg, Stefania Soldini, Francesca Letizia, Massimo Vetrisano, Massimiliano Vasile, Alessandro Rossi, Markus Landgraf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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Libration Point Orbits (LPOs) and Highly Elliptical Orbits (HEOs) are often selected for astrophysics and solar terrestrial missions. No guidelines currently exist for their end-of life. However, as current and future missions are planned to be placed on these orbits, it is a critical aspect to clear these regions at the end of operations to avoid damage to other spacecraft and ensure on-ground safety. This paper presents an analysis of possible disposal strategies for LPO and HEO missions as a result of a European Space Agency study. The dynamical models and the design approach are presented for each disposal option. Five current missions are selected as test cases Herschel, Gaia, SOHO as LPOs, and INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton as HEOs. A trade-off on the disposal options is made considering technical feasibility, as well as the sustainability context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-312
Number of pages15
JournalActa Astronautica
Early online date28 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
Event2nd Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems, DyCoSS2 - Rome, Italy
Duration: 24 Mar 201426 Mar 2014


  • end-of-life disposal
  • highly elliptical orbits
  • libration point orbits
  • trajectory design


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