Strathprints logo
Strathprints Home | Open Access | Browse | Search | User area | Copyright | Help | Library Home | SUPrimo

Orbital dynamics of earth-orbiting 'smart dust' spacecraft under the effects of solar radiation pressure and aerodynamic drag

Colombo, C. and McInnes, C.R. (2010) Orbital dynamics of earth-orbiting 'smart dust' spacecraft under the effects of solar radiation pressure and aerodynamic drag. In: AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2010, 2010-08-02 - 2010-08-05, Toronto, Canada.

[img] PDF (strathprints026358.pdf)

Download (5MB)


This paper investigates how the perturbations due to asymmetric solar radiation pressure, in presence of Earth's shadow, and atmospheric drag can be balanced to obtain long-lived Earth centered orbits for swarms of SpaceChips, without the use of active control. The secular variation of Keplerian elements is expressed analytically through an averaging technique. Families of solutions are then identified where a Sun-synchronous apse-line precession is achieved passively. The long-term evolution is characterized by librational motion, progressively decaying due to the non-conservative effect of atmospheric drag. Therefore, long-lived orbits can be designed through the interaction of energy gain from asymmetric solar radiation pressure and energy dissipation due to drag. In this way, the short life-time of high area-to-mass spacecraft can be greatly extended (and indeed selected). In addition, the effect of atmospheric drag can be exploited to ensure the end-of life decay of SpaceChips, thus preventing long-lived orbit debris.

Item type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
ID code: 26358
Keywords: asymmetric solar radiation pressure, atmospheric drag, Earth centered orbits, smart dust, spacecraft, orbital dynamics, orbit debris, Mechanical engineering and machinery, Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics, Aerospace Engineering, Control and Systems Engineering, Computational Mechanics, Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
Subjects: Technology > Mechanical engineering and machinery
Technology > Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Department: Faculty of Engineering > Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Depositing user: Ms Katrina May
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2010 11:35
Last modified: 23 Jul 2015 20:27
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item