Escape strategies from the capture into 1:1 resonance using low-thrust propulsion

Boumchita, Wail and Feng, Jinglang (2022) Escape strategies from the capture into 1:1 resonance using low-thrust propulsion. In: AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2022, 2022-08-08 - 2022-08-11.

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Vesta is the second largest celestial object of the main asteroid belt and it was visited and studied by the DAWN mission in 2011. The spacecraft used solar-electric propulsion that generates continuous low-thrust. As the spacecraft slowly descends from high altitude mission orbit (HAMO) to low altitude mission orbit (LAMO), it crosses the 1:1 ground-track resonance, with the risk of being captured by this resonance and being trapped at this altitude. The objective of this paper is to analyze different escape strategies from the 1:1 resonance with Vesta based on the change in the low-thrust magnitude. Firstly, the dynamics is modelled considering the irregular gravitational field up to the fourth order and degree and the thrust constant in magnitude and opposite to the velocity direction of the spacecraft. Then, a reference case of capture into 1:1 resonance is considered and the effects of the resonance on the spacecraft's trajectory are described. A Monte Carlo analysis is performed to study the probability of escape from 1:1 resonance as a function of the thrust magnitude. The analysis reveals that there are regions in which the escape from the 1:1 resonance requires more thrust with respect to other ones. Additionally, some cases require to increase the thrust magnitude over the operational limit, making the escape impossible by only increasing the thrust magnitude. This paper contributes to increase the awareness on the risk of resonance capture and the strategies to escape for designing future space missions to asteroids.