Control of asteroid retrieval trajectories to libration point orbits

Ceriotti, M. and Sanchez, J. P. (2016) Control of asteroid retrieval trajectories to libration point orbits. Acta Astronautica, 126, pp. 342-353. (doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2016.03.037)

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The fascinating idea of shepherding asteroids for science and resource utilization is being considered as a credible concept in a not too distant future. Past studies identified asteroids which could be efficiently injected into manifolds which wind onto periodic orbits around collinear Lagrangian points of the Sun-Earth system. However, the trajectories are unstable, and errors in the capture maneuver would lead to complete mission failure, with potential danger of collision with the Earth, if uncontrolled. This paper investigates the controllability of some asteroids along the transfers and the periodic orbits, assuming the use of a solar-electric low-thrust system shepherding the asteroid. Firstly, an analytical approach is introduced to estimate the stability of the trajectories from a dynamical point of view; then, a numerical control scheme based on a linear quadratic regulator is proposed, where the gains are optimized for each trajectory through a genetic algorithm. A stochastic simulation with a Monte Carlo approach is used to account for different perturbed initial conditions and the epistemic uncertainty on the asteroid mass. Results show that only a small subset of the considered combinations of trajectories/asteroids are reliably controllable, and therefore controllability must be taken into account in the selection of potential targets.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ceriotti, Dr Matteo
Authors: Ceriotti, M., and Sanchez, J. P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Acta Astronautica
Published Online:25 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Acta Astronautica 126:342-353
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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