Large-size space debris flyby in low earth orbits
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the analysis of NORAD catalogue of space objects executed with respect to the overall sizes of upper-stages and last stages of carrier rockets allows the classification of 5 groups of large-size space debris (LSSD). These groups are defined according to the proximity of orbital inclinations of the involved objects. The orbits within a group have various values of deviations in the Right Ascension of the Ascending Node (RAAN). It is proposed to use the RAANs deviations' evolution portrait to clarify the orbital planes’ relative spatial distribution in a group so that the RAAN deviations should be calculated with respect to the concrete precessing orbital plane of the concrete object. In case of the first three groups (inclinations i = 71°, i = 74°, i = 81°) the straight lines of the RAAN relative deviations almost do not intersect each other. So the simple, successive flyby of group’s elements is effective, but the significant value of total ΔV is required to form drift orbits. In case of the fifth group (Sun-synchronous orbits) these straight lines chaotically intersect each other for many times due to the noticeable differences in values of semi-major axes and orbital inclinations. The intersections’ existence makes it possible to create such a flyby sequence for LSSD group when the orbit of one LSSD object simultaneously serves as the drift orbit to attain another LSSD object. This flyby scheme requiring less ΔV was called “diagonal.” The RAANs deviations’ evolution portrait built for the fourth group (to be studied in the paper) contains both types of lines, so the simultaneous combination of diagonal and successive flyby schemes is possible. The value of total ΔV and temporal costs were calculated to cover all the elements of the 4th group. The article is also enriched by the results obtained for the flyby problem solution in case of all the five mentioned LSSD groups. The general recommendations are given concerned with the required reserve of total ΔV and with amount of detachable de-orbiting units onboard the maneuvering platform and onboard the refueling vehicle.
KeywordsADR mission space debris orbital maneuvers summary characteristic velocity RAAN correction
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