Path optimization for Space Sweeper with Sling-Sat: A method of active space debris removal Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper provides a path optimization strategy for space debris removal, focusing on the proposed Space Sweeper with Sling-Sat (4S) mission. 4S captures and ejects debris plastically, exploiting the impulsive momentum exchanges in place of fuel. Ejected debris are sent to lower perigee orbits, or to re-enter the atmosphere. The optimization method searches for the most efficient sequence of events to remove debris of unknown masses. For a fixed time interval and number of debris interactions n, the optimized solution predicts a set of n thrust impulses, n debris captures, and n debris ejections. Optimization is performed using an evolutionary algorithm that solves the combinatory problem of selecting the debris interaction order, ejection velocities, and sequence timing, while optimizing fuel cost and effectiveness towards debris mitigation. The first debris interaction is then applied to the system, and the process is repeated after interacting with each object. In this way, an in-orbit mission is simulated, and the results support the feasibility of 4S mission. 2013 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Missel, J., & Mortari, D.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Missel, Jonathan||Mortari, Daniele

publication date

  • January 2013