Solar-Sailing Trajectory Design for Close-Up NEA Observations Mission

Peloni, A. , Ceriotti, M. and Dachwald, B. (2015) Solar-Sailing Trajectory Design for Close-Up NEA Observations Mission. In: 4th IAA Planetary Defense Conference, Frascati, Italy, 13-17 April 2015, (doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4344.9201)

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Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are an extremely valuable resource to study the origin and evolution of the Solar System more in depth. At the same time, they constitute a serious risk for the Earth in the not-so-remote case of an impact. In order to mitigate the hazard of a potential impact with the Earth, several techniques have been studied so far and, for the majority of them, a good knowledge about the chemical and physical composition of the target object is extremely helpful for the success of the mission. A multiple-rendezvous mission with NEAs, with close-up observations, can help the scientific community to improve the overall knowledge about these objects and to support any mitigation strategy. Because of the cost of this kind of mission in terms of Dv, a solar sail spacecraft is proposed in this study, in order to take advantage of the propellantless characteristic of this system. As part of the DLR/ESA Gossamer roadmap, and thus considering the sailcraft based on this technology, the present work is focused on the search of possible sequences of encounters, with priority on Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs). Because of the huge amount of NEAs, the selection of the candidates for a multiple rendezvous is firstly a combinatorial problem, with more than a billion of possible sequences for only three consecutive encounters. Moreover, an optimization problem should be solved in order to find a feasible solar-sail trajectory for each leg of the sequence. In order to tackle this mixed combinatorial/optimization problem, the strategy used is divided into two main steps: a sequence search by means of heuristic rules and simplified trajectory models, and a subsequent optimization phase. Preliminary results were presented previously by the authors, demonstrating that this kind of mission is promising. In this paper, we aim to find new sequences by introducing a different approach on the sequence search algorithm and by reducing the area-to-mass ratio of the solar sail. A smaller area-to-mass ratio entails either the possibility to carry on more payload or to reduce the sail area, raising the TRL. A grid search over 10 years of launching dates is carried out, resulting in different sequences of objects depending on the departing date. Two sequences are fully studied and optimized. The mission parameters and trajectories of the sequences found are shown and explained.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:Multiple rendezvous, solar sail, mitigation, asteroid
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ceriotti, Dr Matteo and Peloni, Mr Alessandro
Authors: Peloni, A., Ceriotti, M., and Dachwald, B.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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