Dynamics and control of an electrodynamic tug: Transfer to the graveyard orbit

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Space debris transfer to the graveyard orbit is a promising solution for impact mitigation in geosynchronous orbits. This paper is a development on previous work done on the eponymous technique to capture and transfer the debris to graveyard orbit located at 200 km above geostationary orbit. Here, the focus is kept on studying the dynamics and control of the collector-debris system. The debris is assumed to be spherical in shape and composed of a magnetically susceptible material with properties of copper-aluminum alloy. The capture and transfer phase is realized by low-thrust transfer trajectory using electric propulsion engine as main thruster and two control thrusters for continuous actuation of relative position of debris. A feedback control law is developed to ensure that the debris remains at the desired equilibrium position during the transfer maneuver. Stability of the system is investigated using results drawn from numerical simulation. The results show how the choice of control coefficients affects the stability of the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalActa Astronautica
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


  • Space debris removal
  • Contactless method
  • Lorentz force
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Feedback control law
  • Low-thrust transfer orbit

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