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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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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.

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Abstract

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.