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Abstract
This paper discusses the use of solar radiation pressure (SRP) augmented deorbiting to passively remove small satellites from high altitude Sunsynchronous orbits. SRPaugmented deorbiting works by deploying a lightweight reflective inflatable device to increase the areatomassratio of the spacecraft. The interactions of the orbital perturbations due to solar radiation pressure and the Earth’s oblateness cause the eccentricity of the orbit to librate at a quasiconstant semimajor axis. A large enough areatomassratio will ensure that a maximum eccentricity is reached where the spacecraft will then experience enough aerodynamic drag at the orbit pericentre to deorbit. An analytical model of the orbital evolution based on a Hamiltonian approach is used to obtain a first guess for the required areatomassratio to deorbit. This first guess is then used in a numerical propagation of the orbital elements using the Gauss’ equations to find the actual requirements as a function of altitude. The results are discussed and altitude regions for Sunsynchronous orbits are identified in which the proposed method is most effective. Finally, the implementation of the device is discussed. It is shown that passive solar radiation pressure deorbiting is a useful alternative to propulsive endoflife manoeuvres for future high altitude Sunsynchronous missions.
Original language  English 

Number of pages  14 
Publication status  Published  Jun 2012 
Event  4S Symposium 2012, Small Satellites Systems and Services  Portoroz, Slovenia Duration: 4 Jun 2012 → 8 Jun 2012 
Conference
Conference  4S Symposium 2012, Small Satellites Systems and Services 

Country/Territory  Slovenia 
City  Portoroz 
Period  4/06/12 → 8/06/12 
Keywords
 solar radiation pressure (SRP)
 high altitude Sunsynchronous orbits
 aerodynamic drag
 deorbiting strategy
 Gauss equations
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 1 Finished

VISIONSPACE  VISIONARY SPACE SYSTEMS: ORBITAL DYNAMICS AT EXTREMES OF SPACECRAFT LENGTH SCALE (ERC ADVANCED GRANT)
McInnes, C.
European Commission  FP7  European Research Council
1/02/09 → 30/09/14
Project: Research