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Title: Space mission applications of high area-to-mass-ratio orbital dynamics
Author: Bewick, Charlotte
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2013
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High area-to-mass-ratio spacecraft experience a signifcant perturbation due to surface forces, such as solar radiation pressure and aerodynamic drag. Hence, their orbits do not evolve in the manner of traditional satellites. They undergo strong changes in eccentricity and argument of pericentre due to solar radiation pressure, and in semi-major axis due to aerodynamic drag. These effects can be exploited for a number of applications, providing solutions to existing problems for space mission design. In this thesis an analytical Hamiltonian model of the orbital evolution of high area-to-massratio objects is used to identify potential mission applications on decreasing length-scale. These applications are then investigated using numerical methods and validated against high-precision orbit propagations. On the metre-scale, applications for small satellites, of 100 kg mass or less, are developed. Firstly, a passive orbit manoeuvre from geostationary transfer orbit to low Earth orbit is investigated. This method has the potential to enable a new range of piggy-back launches for small satellites. Using the same insights, the strategy of solar radiation pressure augmented deorbiting is presented. The deorbiting method can enable passive end-of-life removal from very high altitude orbits. On the millimetre-scale, an orbit control method for so-called SpaceChips is developed. The method uses electrochromic coatings to allow the SpaceChip to alter its optical properties and thus modulate the perturbation due to solar radiation pressure. Different control algorithms are discussed and evaluated. Finally, on the micrometre-scale, a dispersion strategy for a planetary dust ring extracted from a captured asteroid is presented. The long-lived dust ring is designed to reduce the solar input to the global climate system and mitigate global warming. Heliotropic orbits are used as a means of passively controlling the ring.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available