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Dynamics and control of a spacecraft considering irregular gravity fields

Grant number: 19/14395-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2020
Effective date (End): August 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Aerospace Engineering
Principal researcher:Antônio Fernando Bertachini de Almeida Prado
Grantee:Rodolfo Batista Negri
Supervisor abroad: Daniel Jay Scheeres
Home Institution: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brasil). São José dos Campos , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Colorado Boulder, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:17/20794-2 - Study of dynamics, guidance and control applied to asteroid deflection, BP.DR


In the last two decades, studies related to missions to asteroids has gained much attention in the space research community. Among different reasons for that, which range from scientific to economic interests, the collision of a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) to the Earth, considered the main interplanetary threat to life on Earth, has increasingly aroused interest. In the next decade, NASA should launch the DART spacecraft to the Dydimos binary asteroid, in order to test a kinect impactor and to estimate effects in future deflection strategies. There are many different strategy proposals for asteroid deflections in addition to this deflection approach. Following the kinect impactor, the one considered in a more readiness technological status is the gravity-tractor. This deflection approach consists in the use of a massive spacecraft inertially hovering about an asteroid to produce, through the gravitational interaction between both, a deviation in the heliocentric orbit of the later. Among all known asteroids, it is estimated that the binary asteroids make up to 15% of the total. Although many studies considering the gravity-tractor are found in the literature, none of them concentrates in studying the effects of this option applied to such a large asteroid population of binaries. In this work, we plan to study the dynamics when placing a gravity-tractor spacecraft in a binary asteroid system. This is done by applying Two and Three-Body Problems composed by the binary and the massive spacecraft. We also model the gravity potential of the binary nearest to reality considering simpler (e.g. spherical harmonics) and more complex (e.g. polyhedron) models. In a later phase of the work, we plan to apply control theory to deal with the problem in controlling and guiding a spacecraft in such highly perturbed environment.

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