Concept-of-operations disposal analysis of spacecraft by gossamer structure

Macdonald, M., McInnes, C. , Bewick, C., Visagie, L., Lappas, V. and Erb, S. (2015) Concept-of-operations disposal analysis of spacecraft by gossamer structure. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 52(2), pp. 517-525. (doi: 10.2514/1.A32919)

105829.pdf - Accepted Version



A gossamer structure for end-of-life disposal of spacecraft to mitigate space debris is considered in comparison with other end-of-life disposal concepts to determine when it would be preferable. A needs analysis, potential use cases, and concept of operations are developed. A survey of disposal strategies is presented for comparison before a downselection of viable competing techniques: solar sailing, high- and low-thrust propulsion, and electrodynamic tethers. A parametric comparison of the downselection competing techniques is presented. Exploiting solar radiation pressure on the structure is of limited value. Atmospheric drag augmentation was found to be of most benefit for end-of-life disposal when an entirely passive means is required, allowing the gossamer device to act as a “fail-safe”. This is applicable to only low- and medium-mass spacecraft or spacecraft that are unlikely to survive atmospheric reentry, hence minimizing risk to human life. It does not significantly alter the operating ceiling altitude but does alter the maximum allowable end-of-life mass. Peak mass benefit occurs in the altitude range 550–650 km and is largely independent of deorbit time.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McInnes, Professor Colin
Authors: Macdonald, M., McInnes, C., Bewick, C., Visagie, L., Lappas, V., and Erb, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
ISSN (Online):1533-6794
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
First Published:First published in Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets 52(2):517-525
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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