OPTIMIZATION OF DEBRIS REMOVAL PATH FOR TAMU SWEEPER
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This paper provides a path optimization strategy for debris removal satellites,focusing on the proposed TAMU Sweeper mission. The optimized solution is a set of n satellite maneuvers, n debris captures, and n debris ejections. Ejected debris are sent to lower perigee orbits or to re-enter the atmosphere. Optimization is performed using an evolutionary algorithm that solves the combinatory problem of selecting the debris interaction order, transfer trajectories, and sequence timing, while optimizing fuel cost and effectiveness towards debris mitigation. For a fixed time interval and number of debris interactions, the most efficient and effective sequence is sought. The broader goal of this work is to evaluate feasibility of such missions. Our early findings show that the TAMU Sweeper technique directly removes 81% of the debris encountered through re-entry, and significantly lowers the perigees of the rest. It does so while using 40% less fuel than "traditional" successive rendezvous approaches.
author list (cited authors)
Missel, J., & Mortari, D.