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Title: Design and control of solar radiation pressure assisted missions in the sun-earth restricted three-body problem
Author: Soldini, Stefania
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 8144
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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The scientific interest in space exploration is driven by the desire to answer fundamental questions relating to the formation of our solar system and life on Earth. Space agencies are currently pushing the boundaries of space mission design to meet scientific goals. Thus, space missions require novel trajectories to further human space exploration. A modern approach that has arisen in space mission design is to use dynamical system tools that exploit the natural dynamics of the solar system. A spacecraft's natural dynamics are affected by environmental perturbations such as Solar Radiation Pressure(SRP). Traditionally, the design of space missions requires any perturbations to be counteracted through corrective manoeuvres. However, these corrective manoeuvres require propellant and therefore the pre-storing of fuel. This thesis investigates fuel-free propulsion for harnessing SRP in the design of space missions of the Sun-Earth restricted three-body problem. SRP propulsion is applied to the spacecraft's orbit control and furthermore to create the propulsion required for the design of transfers between quasi-periodic orbits and end-of-life disposal trajectories. The advantage of SRP manoeuvres is that the spacecraft can have access to an unlimited source of propellant (the Sun's radiation) consequently extending its life and reducing the overall mission costs; where the advancement in space technology makes harnessing SRP devices possible for future missions design. SRP manoeuvres are triggered by light and extended reflective deployable structures (i.e., mirror-like surfaces). The magnitude of the SRP acceleration is a function of the spacecraft's area-to-mass ratio, its reflectivity properties, mass and orientation of the reflective surface to the Sun-line direction. This thesis demonstrates that SRP manoeuvres are an effective and an effcient approach to stabilise the natural dynamics of the spacecraft in the Sun-Earth system. The size of the required reflective deployable area and spacecraft pointing accuracy are the ultimate outcomes of this research. Along with the design of the reflective area, the definition of a new control law, a method to perform transfers between quasi-periodic orbits and a strategy for the end-of-life disposal are the major important research findings.
Supervisor: Walker, Scott Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available