Application of the Terminator Tether electrodynamic drag technology to the deorbit of constellation spacecraft

Robert Forward, Robert Hoyt, Chauncey Uphoff
1998 34th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit   unpublished
I . A . M o t i v a t i o n : O r b i t a l D e b r i s i n L E O Currently, the US Space Command tracks roughly 6,000 objects in LEO. Less than 300 of these objects are operational spacecraft. The rest are spent rockets and derelict spacecraft. 3 In addition, there are countless numbers of debris objects too small to be tracked; these objects result from explosions of rocket stages and fragmentation of spacecraft. These objects pose a growing risk to operational spacecraft. Moreover, in t h e
more » ... ear future, a number of companies will begin deploying telecommunications constellations with tens or even hundreds of satellites. These satellites will have operational lifetimes of approximately 5-10 years. Unless proper measures are taken to remove these satellites from orbit at the end of their lives, the debris population in LEO may grow exponentially, making many orbital slots useless.
doi:10.2514/6.1998-3491 fatcat:xd73cvgalfbwpkpdpddll4j67m