Study of the Lorentz force on debris with high area-to-mass ratios

Romain Serra, Kento Hoshi, Massimiliano Vasile, Hiroshi Yamakwa

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The presence of plasma in Low Earth Orbit and above can be the cause of electrostatic charging on space objects with a conductive surface, which then become subject to the Lorentz force induced by the magnetic field. This paper investigates it effects on the trajectory of orbital debris with a high area-to-mass ratio, as their course is particularly influenced by non-gravitational perturbations such as atmospheric drag or solar radiation pressure. Depending on the altitude (low or medium) and the available data, different charging models have been coupled with an orbit propagator, featuring a range of non-Keplerian accelerations and both three and six degrees-of-freedom dynamics. In particular, there has been a focus on long-term effects by simulating charged versus non-charged objects over the time span of years or decades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1675-1686
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics
Issue number8
Early online date8 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019


  • low earth orbit
  • Lorentz force
  • plasmasphere
  • plasma
  • orbital debris


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