DESIGN STRATEGIES AND TACTICS TO DEFEAT CO-ORBITAL ANTI-SATELLITE CAPABILITIES
Hanlon, Edward A.
Yakimenko, Oleg A.
Van Bossuyt, Douglas
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Spacecraft play an increasingly significant role in U.S. military operations. For adversaries looking to degrade U.S. capability to mitigate tactical advantage, this reliance provides another attack vector and represents a potential U.S. weakness. Recent technological developments have resulted in the increased proliferation of “attack” satellites. A strong understanding of the orbital domain and orbital dynamics is necessary to effectively evade these attackers. Much like the early days of aviation, space innovation has outpaced existing tactics, techniques and procedures. This thesis aims to provide an overview of the domain and possible evasive maneuvers to facilitate further tactics development. It begins with an overview of the threat landscape to provide background on what to expect and proceeds to discuss what positions of advantage are in space and how thrust commands translate to maneuvers at different time scales. It details the development of an engagement simulator and provides insight as to the effect of various evasion thrust patterns. From this, an evasion tactic is developed and tested in the simulator. This tactic proves effective in evading an aggressor while also demonstrating substantial fuel savings over alternative methods. Finally, different spacecraft parameters are compared to determine what hardware improvements provide the best evasive capability.
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