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Analysis of NEOs reachability with nano-satallites and low-thrust propulsion

Greco, Cristian and Di Carlo, Marilena and Walker, Lewis and Vasile, Massimiliano (2018) Analysis of NEOs reachability with nano-satallites and low-thrust propulsion. In: 4S Symposium 2018 - Small Satellites Systems and Services, 2018-05-28 - 2018-06-01, Hilton Sorrento Palace.

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Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of new potential space missions to Near Earth Objects (NEOs) using nano-satellites and low-thrust propulsion. Both rendezvous and flyby scenarios are examined over a launch window that goes from 2024 to 2034. The paper first investigates the reachability of thousands of sample asteroids taken from the existing database of NEOs. Then, a sensitivity analysis is performed on a large number of transfers to study the effect of uncertainty on the initial mass at launch, thrust level and specific impulse of the engine. This second step provides information on the required spacecraft system and it is used to perform a more detailed trajectory optimisation on a selected scenario to study the effect of uncertain boundary conditions and disturbance on the control. Finally, an analysis is performed to assess how to improve our knowledge of some asteroid attributes during a flyby by using sensors that can be installed on board a nano-satellite.