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Space Debris Attitude Control During Contactless Transportation in Planar Case

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.2514/1.G004686

The use of ion flow for the implementation of contactless force action transmission from an active spacecraft to a passive object is a promising technology for the creation of active large space debris removal systems. Keeping a certain orientation of large space debris with respect to the oncoming ion stream in the process of its removal from the orbit can significantly reduce the time for this transport operation. The aim of the work is to develop a control law that stabilizes the space debris in a certain position. A cylindrical spent rocket stage is considered as the space debris. The planar motion of a mechanical system consisting of the active spacecraft and the space debris is considered. The two ways to control the ion flux are considered and compared with each other: by changing the thrust of the ion engine and by turning the ion flow direction. Lyapunov’s theorems on stability and asymptotic stability in the first approximation and Bellman method are used to build the control laws. The results of numerical simulation prove that controlling the ion flow direction is a more efficient way of stabilizing attitude motion in terms of minimizing the time spent.

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