Out-of-plane relative motion of a spacecraft with an aerodynamic compensator during contactless space debris removal

1Fokov, AA, 1Khoroshylov, SV, 1Svorobin, DS
1Institute of Technical Mechanics of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine and the State Space Agency of Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Space Sci. & Technol. 2021, 27 ;(2):15-27
https://doi.org/10.15407/knit2021.02.015
Publication Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: 
The article investigates the feasibility of using an aerodynamic compensator for contactless removal of space debris from low Earth orbits, taking into account aerodynamic disturbances in the direction perpendicular to the orbital plane. The object of the research is a modified scheme of the “ion beam shepherd” de-orbiting concept. The modification consists in replacing an additional electric thruster with an aerodynamic compensator designed to compensate the shepherd spacecraft motion caused by the reaction force of the main electric thruster, the ion plume of which creates a “braking” effect on the space debris object. The shepherd spacecraft with the aerodynamic compensator has a relatively large cross-sectional area. In this case, it is necessary to control the relative motion caused by the aerodynamic disturbances in the direction perpendicular to the orbital plane. This control requires additional propellant for the thrusters of the relative motion control system of the shepherd spacecraft. The article presents the calculation of the propellant consumption using a number of simplifying assumptions. The validity of these assumptions is verified by numerical integration of the equations of relative motion. The feasibility of using the aerodynamic compensator for contactless removal of space debris, taking into account aerodynamic disturbances acting in the direction perpendicular to the orbital plane, is shown.
Keywords: aerodynamic compensator, out-of-plane direction, propellant consumption, relative motion control, space debris removal, the “ion beam shepherd” concept
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