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End-of-life disposal concepts for libration point orbit and highly elliptical orbit missions

Colombo, Camilla and Alessi, Elisa Maria and van der Weg, Willem Johan and Soldini, Stefania and Letizia, Francesca and Vetrisano, Massimo and Vasile, Massimiliano and Rossi, Alessandro and Landgraf, Markus (2015) End-of-life disposal concepts for libration point orbit and highly elliptical orbit missions. Acta Astronautica, 110. pp. 298-312. ISSN 0094-5765

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Abstract

Libration Point Orbits (LPOs) and Highly Elliptical Orbits (HEOs) are often selected for astrophysics and solar terrestrial missions. No guidelines currently exist for their end-of life. However, as current and future missions are planned to be placed on these orbits, it is a critical aspect to clear these regions at the end of operations to avoid damage to other spacecraft and ensure on-ground safety. This paper presents an analysis of possible disposal strategies for LPO and HEO missions as a result of a European Space Agency study. The dynamical models and the design approach are presented for each disposal option. Five current missions are selected as test cases Herschel, Gaia, SOHO as LPOs, and INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton as HEOs. A trade-off on the disposal options is made considering technical feasibility, as well as the sustainability context.