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Open Astronomy

formerly Baltic Astronomy

Editor-in-Chief: Barbuy, Beatriz

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.350

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Volume 27, Issue 1


Defunct Satellites in Nearly Polar Orbits: Long-term Evolution of Attitude Motion

Dmitry Pritykin / Sergey Efimov / Vladislav Sidorenko
  • Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Keldysh, Russia
  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-11-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/astro-2018-0029


Low Earth orbits (LEO) are known as a region of high space activity and, consequently, space debris highest density. Launcher upper stages and defunct satellites are the largest space debris objects, whose collisions can result in still greater pollution, rendering further space missions in LEO impossible. Thus, space debris remediation is necessary, and the LEO region is a primary target of active debris removal (ADR) projects. However, ADR planning requires at least an approximate idea of the candidate objects’ attitude dynamics, which is one of the incentives for our study. This paper is mainly focused on modeling and simulating the attitude dynamics of defunct satellites. We consider a “boxwing” configuration satellite with an ellipsoid of inertia close to an oblate ellipsoid of revolution. The dynamical model takes into account the gravity-gradient torque, the torque due to the residual magnetic moment, and the torque due to eddy currents induced by the interaction of conductive materials with the geomagnetic field. A better understanding of the intermediate phase of the exponential deceleration and existing final regimes is achieved owing to a more accurate model of the eddy-current torque than in most prior research.We also show the importance of orbital precession, which contributes to the overall attitude motion evolution.

Keywords: space debris; attitude dynamics; eddy-current torque; residual magnetic moment


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About the article

Received: 2017-11-15

Accepted: 2018-06-01

Published Online: 2018-11-20

Published in Print: 2018-11-01

Citation Information: Open Astronomy, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 264–277, ISSN (Online) 2543-6376, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/astro-2018-0029.

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© by Dmitry Pritykin, et al., published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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S. Efimov, D. Pritykin, and V. Sidorenko
Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, 2018, Volume 130, Number 10

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