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sizing of "mother ship and catcher" concepts for leo small debris captureMost Low Earth Orbit (LEO) debris lies in a limited number of inclination "bands" associated with launch latitudes, or with specific useful orbit inclinations (such as polar orbits). Such narrow inclination bands generally have a uniform spread over all possible Right Ascensions of Ascending Node (RAANs), creating a different orbit plane for nearly every piece of debris. This complicates concept of rendezvous and capture for debris removal. However, a low-orbiting satellite will always phase in RAAN faster than debris objects in higher orbits at the same inclination, potentially solving the problem. Such a base can serve as a single space-based launch facility (a "mother ship") that can tend and then send tiny individual catcher devices for each debris object, as the facility drifts into the same RAAN as the higher object. This presentation will highlight characteristic system requirements of such an architecture, including structural and navigation requirements, power, mass and dV budgets for both the mother ship and the mass-produced common catcher devices that would clean out selected inclination bands. The altitude and inclination regime over which a band is to be cleared, the size distribution of the debris, and the inclusion of additional mission priorities all affect the sizing of the system. It is demonstrated that major LEO hazardous debris reductions can be realized in each band with a single LEO launch of a single mother ship, with simple attached catchers of total mass less than typical commercial LEO launch capability.
Document ID
20090040365
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Bacon, John B.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
JSC-CN-19195
Meeting Information
International Conference on Orbital Debris Removal(Chantilly, VA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.