Orbital debris mitigation through deorbiting with passive electrodynamic drag

Zanutto, Denis and Lorenzini, Enrico C. and Mantellato, Riccardo and Colombatti, Giacomo and Sánchez Torres, Antonio (2012). Orbital debris mitigation through deorbiting with passive electrodynamic drag. In: "63rd International Astronautical Congress", 01/10/2012 - 05/10/2012, Naples, Italia. ISBN 9781622769797. pp. 1-9.


Title: Orbital debris mitigation through deorbiting with passive electrodynamic drag
  • Zanutto, Denis
  • Lorenzini, Enrico C.
  • Mantellato, Riccardo
  • Colombatti, Giacomo
  • Sánchez Torres, Antonio
Item Type: Presentation at Congress or Conference (Article)
Event Title: 63rd International Astronautical Congress
Event Dates: 01/10/2012 - 05/10/2012
Event Location: Naples, Italia
Title of Book: 63rd International Astronautical Congress 2012 (IAC 2012)
Date: 1 October 2012
ISBN: 9781622769797
Faculty: E.T.S.I. Aeronáuticos (UPM)
Department: Física Aplicada a la Ingeniería Aeronáutica [hasta 2014]
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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The increase of orbital debris and the consequent proliferation of smaller objects through fragmentation are driving the need for mitigation strategies. The issue is how to deorbit the satellite with an efficient system that does not impair drastically the propellant budget of the satellite and, consequently, reduces its operating life. We have been investigating, in the framework of a European-Community-funded project, a passive system that makes use of an electrodynamics tether to deorbit a satellite through Lorentz forces. The deorbiting system will be carried by the satellite itself at launch and deployed from the satellite at the end of its life. From that moment onward the system operates passively without requiring any intervention from the satellite itself. The paper summarizes the results of the analysis carried out to show the deorbiting performance of the system starting from different orbital altitudes and inclinations for a reference satellite mass. Results can be easily scaled to other satellite masses. The results have been obtained by using a high-fidelity computer model that uses the latest environmental routines for magnetic field, ionospheric density, atmospheric density and a gravity field model. The tether dynamics is modelled by considering all the main aspects of a real system as the tether flexibility and its temperature-dependent electrical conductivity. Temperature variations are computed by including all the major external and internal input fluxes and the thermal flux emitted from the tether. The results shows that a relatively compact and light system can carry out the complete deorbit of a relatively large satellite in a time ranging from a month to less than a year starting from high LEO with the best performance occurring at low orbital inclinations.

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Item ID: 19212
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/19212/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:19212
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 09 May 2014 15:19
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2016 17:27
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