On the motion of a microsatellite with the sail in the atmosphere (NanoSail-D)

1Koshkin, NI, 1Korobeynikova, EA, 2Lopachenko, VV, 1Melikyants, SM, 1Strakhova, SL, 1Shakun, LS
1Scientific-Research Institute «Astronomical Observatory» of the I.I. Mechnikov National University of Odessa, Odessa, Ukraine
2National Center of Space Facilities Control and Test of the State Space Agency of Ukraine, Yevpatoria, AR Crimea, Ukraine
Kosm. nauka tehnol. 2012, 18 ;(1):31–38
Publication Language: Russian
The drag of the satellite NanoSail-D with the sail in the Earth’s upper atmosphere is considered and the satellite motion around the center of mass is studied. The satellite is a prototype of future mechanisms for accelerated deorbit of the space debris. The satellite’s dynamics is supposed to be a cause of the insufficiently quick braking of the sail. Photometric observations discover different changes in the satellite’s brightness, including some regular variability. In the latter case, the photometric period is about several seconds with 12 clearly visible variations within the period. This favours the view that in the result of interaction with a particle flux of the upper atmosphere the sail switched over to the mode of rotation around an axis which does not coincide with the axis of symmetry and, possibly, rapidly precesses in space. Some results of the simulation of the NanoSail-D rotation are presented.
Keywords: microsatellite, rotation, the sail
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