5th International Conference on Spacecraft Formation Flying Missions and Technologies, Munich, Germany
This work focuses on two important types of space missions: close-in satellite inspection of LEO/GEO high-value assets to detect and/or resolve anomalies, and LEO/GEO debris disposal missions to reduce space hazards. To demonstrate the efficiency of using reusable SmallSats, two mission architectures are analyzed: 1) a SmallSat Carrier-based system with an in-space refueling capability, and 2) a traditional Carrier-less SmallSat. For each architecture the number of potential SmallSat satellite inspection and debris disposal mission sorties is determined as a function of the required initial launch mass. The analysis shows that reusable SmallSats can efficiently conduct multiple satellite inspection and debris removal sorties. For LEO missions, the Carrier-based architecture enables a significantly lower launch mass than the Carrier-less system. For GEO missions, the advantages of a Carrier-based system are less clear and more mission specific. To accomplish these missions, key enabling SmallSat technologies are identified.
Geller, David K.; Crocket, Derick; Christensen, Randy; and Shelley, Adam, "Advantages of Small Satellite Carrier Concepts for LEO/GEO Inspection and Debris Removal Missions" (2013). Space Dynamics Lab Publications. Paper 50.