End-of-life disposal of high elliptical orbit missions: The case of INTEGRAL

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Abstract

Nowadays there is international consensus that space activities must be managed to minimize debris generation and risk. The paper presents a method for the end-of-life (EoL) disposal of spacecraft in high elliptical orbits (HEO). The time evolution of HEO is strongly affected by Earth's oblateness and luni-solar perturbation, and this can cause in the long-term to extended interferences with low Earth orbit (LEO) protected region and uncontrolled Earth re-entry. An EoL disposal concept that exploits the effect of orbital perturbations to reduce the disposal cost is presented. The problem is formulated as a multiobjective optimization problem, which is solved with an evolutionary algorithm. To explore at the best the search space a semi-analytical orbit propagator, which allows the propagation of the orbit motion for 100 years in few seconds, is adopted. The EoL disposal of the INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) mission is used as a practical test-case to show the effectiveness of the proposed methodology.

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Armellin, R., San-Juan, J. F., & Lara, M. (2015). End-of-life disposal of high elliptical orbit missions: The case of INTEGRAL. Advances in Space Research, 56(3), 479–493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2015.03.020

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