Spacecraft motion control while contactless space debris removal


Ryazanov V. V.

Samara National Research University named after Academician S.P. Korolev, 34, Moskovskoye shosse, Samara, 443086, Russia



The urgency of the issue under consideration is determined by the need to develop methods for cleaning the near-Earth space from space debris objects that pose a threat to the spacecraft functioning. The article considered the process of removing the CubSat3U format nanosatellite from the near-Earth orbit by a contactless method employing an active spacecraft equipped with ion and control engines. A nanosatellite can serve as a universal base for conducting orbital experiments to develop the technology for removal using ion beam. When analyzing the removal process, it was assumed that at the stage of towing the distance between the active spacecraft and nanosatellite remains constant. For the stages of approach and towing, it is necessary to know the maximum value of control engines thrust, and the time of movement stabilization at which the nanosatellite center of mass will be located on the longitudinal axis of the blowing engine of the active spacecraft. The presented work is devoted to the analysis of the proposed control laws for the active spacecraft. The author obtained differential equations of the motion of an active spacecraft relative to a nanosatellite in the orbital coordinate system for the stages of approach and towing. The article suggest control laws of an active spacecraft relative to nanosatellite for the stages of approach and towing. Aerodynamic coefficients of the object being removed were used for determining the force transmitted from the ion beam to nanosatellite. With the selected coefficients of the control laws, the time of motion stabilization was determined.


space debris, nanosatellite, noncontact method, ion beam, control law


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