Study of the Lorentz force on debris with high area-to-mass ratios

Serra, Romain and Hoshi, Kento and Vasile, Massimiliano and Yamakwa, Hiroshi (2019) Study of the Lorentz force on debris with high area-to-mass ratios. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 41 (8). pp. 1675-1686. ISSN 1533-3884 (

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The presence of plasma in Low Earth Orbit and above can be the cause of electrostatic charging on space objects with a conductive surface, which then become subject to the Lorentz force induced by the magnetic field. This paper investigates it effects on the trajectory of orbital debris with a high area-to-mass ratio, as their course is particularly influenced by non-gravitational perturbations such as atmospheric drag or solar radiation pressure. Depending on the altitude (low or medium) and the available data, different charging models have been coupled with an orbit propagator, featuring a range of non-Keplerian accelerations and both three and six degrees-of-freedom dynamics. In particular, there has been a focus on long-term effects by simulating charged versus non-charged objects over the time span of years or decades.