International Journal of Space Science and Engineering
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 analysed: 1) a SmallSat carrier-based system with an in-space refuelling capability; 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.; Christensen, Randy; and Shelley, Adam, "Advantages of Small Satellite Carrier Concepts for LEO/GEO Inspection and Debris Removal Missions" (2014). Space Dynamics Lab Publications. Paper 52.