A deformation model of flexible, HAMR objects for accurate propagation under perturbations and the self-shadowing effects

Channumsin, S., Ceriotti, M. and Radice, G. (2018) A deformation model of flexible, HAMR objects for accurate propagation under perturbations and the self-shadowing effects. Advances in Space Research, 61(4), pp. 1066-1096. (doi:10.1016/j.asr.2017.10.057)

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Abstract

A new type of space debris in near geosynchronous orbit (GEO) was recently discovered and later identified as exhibiting unique characteristics associated with high area-to-mass ratio (HAMR) objects, such as high rotation rates and high reflection properties. Observations have shown that this debris type is very sensitive to environmental disturbances, particularly solar radiation pressure, due to the fact that its motion depends on the actual effective area, orientation of that effective area, reflection properties and the area-to-mass ratio of the object is not stable over time. Previous investigations have modelled this type of debris as rigid bodies (constant area-to-mass ratios) or discrete deformed body; however, these simplifications will lead to inaccurate long term orbital predictions. This paper proposes a simple yet reliable model of a thin, deformable membrane based on multibody dynamics. The membrane is modelled as a series of flat plates, connected through joints, representing the flexibility of the membrane itself. The mass of the membrane, albeit low, is taken into account through lump masses at the joints. The attitude and orbital motion of this flexible membrane model is then propagated near GEO to predict its orbital evolution under the perturbations of solar radiation pressure, Earth’s gravity field (J2), third body gravitational fields (the Sun and Moon) and self-shadowing. These results are then compared to those obtained for two rigid body models (cannonball and flat rigid plate). In addition, Monte Carlo simulations of the flexible model by varying initial attitude and deformation angle (different shape) are investigated and compared with the two rigid models (cannonball and flat rigid plate) over a period of 100 days. The numerical results demonstrate that cannonball and rigid flat plate are not appropriate to capture the true dynamical evolution of these objects, at the cost of increased computational time.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was funded by Ministry of Science and Technology of the Thai government and the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development (project award FA8655-13-1-3028).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Radice, Dr Gianmarco and Ceriotti, Dr Matteo
Authors: Channumsin, S., Ceriotti, M., and Radice, G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Advances in Space Research
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0273-1177
ISSN (Online):1879-1948
Published Online:21 November 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Crown Copyright
First Published:First published in Advances in Space Research 61:1066-1096
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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