Electro-thermal dynamic simulations and results of a deorbiting tethered system

Electro-thermal dynamic simulations and results of a deorbiting tethered system

G. Anese, G. Colombatti, A. Brunello, A. Valmorbida, G. Polato, S. Chiodini, E.C. Lorenzini

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Abstract. Deorbiting techniques with small or better no propellant consumption are an important and critical field of space studies for the mitigation of orbital debris. Electrodynamic tethers (EDTs) are of particular interest because they make possible to deorbit space debris by exploiting the Lorentz force that is provided by the current flowing in the tether thanks to the interaction of the system with the Earth’s magnetosphere and the ionosphere. This paper focuses on the differences between two software packages built at the University of Padova (FLEX and FLEXSIM) and their results in simulating various deorbiting scenarios. Both FLEXSIM and FLEX simulate the electro-thermal behaviour and the dynamics of an EDT. However, while the first one has the simplifying assumption that the tether is always aligned with the local vertical, the second one considers also the overall system attitude with respect to the radial direction and the tether flexibility. The computational times of these S/W are very different and it is important to understand the scenarios that are more appropriate for their use. Results aim to show the impact of different solar activity (simulations are done at different epochs) and lengths of conductive and non conductive segments of tether, in the range of a few hundreds of meters, on the total re-entry time. As expected, deorbiting is faster for high solar activity and conductive tether length but the performance must be balanced against the dynamics stability. The issue of stability over the deorbiting time is evaluated numerically for specific cases by using FLEX.

Space Tethers, Electrodynamics, Numerical Simulations, Satellites Deorbiting

Published online 11/1/2023, 4 pages
Copyright © 2023 by the author(s)
Published under license by Materials Research Forum LLC., Millersville PA, USA

Citation: G. Anese, G. Colombatti, A. Brunello, A. Valmorbida, G. Polato, S. Chiodini, E.C. Lorenzini, Electro-thermal dynamic simulations and results of a deorbiting tethered system, Materials Research Proceedings, Vol. 37, pp 534-537, 2023

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21741/9781644902813-117

The article was published as article 117 of the book Aeronautics and Astronautics

Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

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