Session

Technical Session IV: Advanced Technologies Section I

SSC04-IV-3.pdf (541 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The amount of debris in Earth orbit is increasing at an extraordinary rate and presents a growing hazard to orbital operations. Most of the debris in low earth orbit (LEO) is man made and consists of inactive spacecraft and/or launch vehicle upper stages. International treaties and US Government requirements dictate that all space vehicles (SV’s) must be de-orbited or moved to a higher orbit within a limited time (within 25 years of EOL – NASA/FCC Requirement). A separate guideline requires that medium to large spacecraft be disposed of via a controlled deorbit into a remote portion of the Pacific Ocean. The cost and mass of a spacecraft can increase significantly to meet these post-mission disposal requirements. For example, approximately 75% of the propellant on Ball Aerospace and Technologies (BATC) NPP spacecraft is used to perform a controlled de-orbit at the end of the mission. For a small spacecraft, a propulsion system may not be feasible because of mass, volume, and cost constraints. Without a de-orbit propulsion system, it can take years for a spacecraft to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The rate of decay of this orbital debris/SV is dependent upon the orbit altitude, ballistic coefficient of the SV, activity of the sun (i.e. solar cycle) and variations in density of the upper atmosphere which makes de-orbit predictions difficult.

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Aug 10th, 2:30 PM

Rapid De-Orbit of LEO Space Vehicles using Towed Rigidizable Inflatable Structure (TRIS) Technology: Concept and Feasibility Assessment

The amount of debris in Earth orbit is increasing at an extraordinary rate and presents a growing hazard to orbital operations. Most of the debris in low earth orbit (LEO) is man made and consists of inactive spacecraft and/or launch vehicle upper stages. International treaties and US Government requirements dictate that all space vehicles (SV’s) must be de-orbited or moved to a higher orbit within a limited time (within 25 years of EOL – NASA/FCC Requirement). A separate guideline requires that medium to large spacecraft be disposed of via a controlled deorbit into a remote portion of the Pacific Ocean. The cost and mass of a spacecraft can increase significantly to meet these post-mission disposal requirements. For example, approximately 75% of the propellant on Ball Aerospace and Technologies (BATC) NPP spacecraft is used to perform a controlled de-orbit at the end of the mission. For a small spacecraft, a propulsion system may not be feasible because of mass, volume, and cost constraints. Without a de-orbit propulsion system, it can take years for a spacecraft to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The rate of decay of this orbital debris/SV is dependent upon the orbit altitude, ballistic coefficient of the SV, activity of the sun (i.e. solar cycle) and variations in density of the upper atmosphere which makes de-orbit predictions difficult.