space debris removal
My advisor (Prof.
and I have been working closely to explore a new
and creative idea for tackling the problem of space
debris. The problem stumping standard missions is that space
debris is very spread out. It simply takes too much fuel to
travel between debris. Space Sweeper
is a satellite mission structure that
plans to flip the problem on its head by using the debris itself as
fuel! It does so by capturing and ejecting debris with plastic
This eliminates the need to burn fuel for full rendezvouses, and saves
fuel by keeping the craft light. Additionally, the momentum
exchanged from the plastic collisions acts as two free impulses that can
used in place of fuel. The hope is to develop a mission plan
is efficient enough to make space debris removal a practical task.
Sling-Sat is the proposed hardware to enact Space Sweeper, and is
equally innovative. It is a spinning satellite that collects
debris at the ends of adjustable arms. Adjusting the length of
these arms controls the angular rate and achieves a desired tangential
ejection speed. Timing the release exacts the ejection
angle. Through this process, debris can be redirected to burn up
in the atmosphere.
- Missel, J. and Mortari, D. "Removing Space Debris through Sequential Capture and Ejection," Accepted by AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, awaiting print.
- Missel, J. and Mortari, D. "Optimization of Debris Removal Path for TAMU Sweeper," Paper AAS 12-167 of the 22nd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting Conference, Charleston, SC, Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, 2012.
- Missel, J. and Mortari, D. "Sling Satellite for Debris Removal with Aggie Sweeper," Paper AAS 11-256 of the 21st AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting Conference, New Orleans, LA, Feb. 13-17, 2011.
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