Exploiting astrodynamics for the manipulation and exploration of asteroids

  • Daniel Garcia Yarnoz

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The accessibility of minor bodies, the impact threat they pose, their scientific interest and the theorised potential for material extraction have pinpointed asteroids and comets as attractive targets for current and future space exploration. The manipulation of these minor bodies has been discussed for over a century, mainly with the aim of planetary protection, and in general based on the use of artificial external forces. Within this thesis, the manipulation of asteroids has been addressed across a range of length-scales, from orbit to dust particle manipulation, placing emphasis on exploiting natural astrodynamics. On the macro-scale regime, the capture of Near-Earth Objects into libration point orbits of the Sun-Earth system was investigated by exploiting manifold dynamics to obtain low-costs transfers. At middle scales or meso-scales, this thesis proposes the use of tidal torques acting on captured asteroids during swing-bys to manipulate the asteroid's rotational state. Possibilities included induced asteroid spin-up, de-spin, rotational fragmentation or binary break-up. In addition, the exploitation of solar radiation pressure was analysed with the purpose of generating new orbiting strategies around minor bodies. Finally, at the smallest scales or micro-scales, a novel asteroid regolith separation method based on the exploitation of differential solar radiation pressure has been proposed.
Date of Award13 Jun 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde & EU

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