Dick, Frank A.
As the number of artificial satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) increases, the probability of collisions between these artificial satellites increases, and so does the need for cost-effective space debris remediation. In this project, we designed and tested a mission framework for the capture and detumbling of space debris. A computer simulation was used to observe the contact dynamics of a net on space debris and its efficacy in capturing tumbling satellites. An experiment was designed and executed to validate the use of a momentum wheel and tether-net linkage to detumble spinning space debris. Through experimentation, it was shown that controlling a piece of tumbling debris with a tether-net connection and momentum wheel is a feasible solution for low-mass debris removal mission.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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