TETHERED SPACECRAFT SYSTEMS FOR ACTIVE DEBRIS REMOVAL
Byrne, Gregory J.
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Orbital debris will increase dramatically unless active debris removal methods are implemented. Tethered methods of active debris removal present an intriguing solution that should be investigated and the benefits compared to other researched methods of active debris removal. This study consists of applications of tethered space systems and active debris removal methods with a focus on tether-based momentum exchange systems in an effort to determine if a tethered propellantless debris removal solution is a viable one. The debris will be assumed to have been captured, with the tether attached to the center of mass of both the debris and the removal vehicle. The debris analyzed has simplified characteristics based on Hubble Space Telescope. The results of this study, conducted primarily using MATLAB and Simulink numerical integration methods, explore the dynamics of tethered satellite systems and compare the results of different removal methods, including the addition of a drag sail via a long tether, tethered momentum exchange orbital transfers, and propulsive orbital transfers. The momentum exchange model explores effects of tether length and spin rate on the momentum exchange orbital transfer.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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