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Ground-based laser momentum transfer concept for debris collision avoidance

Cordelli, Emiliano and Di Mira, Andrea and Flohrer, Tim and Setty, Srinivas and Zayer, Igor and Scharring, Stefan and Dreyer, Heiko and Wagner, Gerd and Kästel, Jürgen and Schafer, Ewan and Wagner, Paul and Riede, Wolfgang and Bamann, Christoph and Hugentobler, Urs and Lejba, Pawel and Suchodolski, Tomasz and Döberl, Egon and Weinzinger, Dietmar and Promper, Wolfgang (2021) Ground-based laser momentum transfer concept for debris collision avoidance. In: Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC. 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC), 25.-29.Okt. 2021, Dubai. ISSN 0074-1795.

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Official URL: https://dl.iafastro.directory/event/IAC-2021/paper/66062/


Satellite laser ranging (SLR) is a well-established technology within the scientific community used since the early 1960s to precisely measure distances. The technology evolved in support of the geodetic research striving for high accuracy measurements which nowadays are achieved by means of high repetition, low energy pulse lasers used in combination with satellites equipped with retroreflectors. The achieved accuracy allowed not only for quality improvement of orbit determination products but also remote estimation of the attitude of the observed target. The SLR technique constitutes a highly accurate, relatively cheap alternative to radars for the tracking of orbiting targets. In the last decade, the successful tracking of resident space objects, not equipped with retroreflectors, made SLR a fundamental and appealing technique also in the space debris domain. In this study, we will introduce a step forward - thanks to the availability of commercial high power (> 10 kW) continuous wave (CW) lasers - which consists in the setup of a network of ground stations able to efficiently contribute to space debris collision avoidance manoeuvres in the low Earth orbit (LEO). This paper will summarize the achievements of a conceptual study on ground-based laser momentum transfer to LEO space debris performed by a consortium under the guidance of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) in the frame of the ESA Space Safety Programme. The study was carried out approaching the problem from an astrodynamical, physical, technological and legal point of view. The required tracking precision and the fundamental physics of the laser momentum transfer (LMT) were studied to evaluate the achievable thrust on LEO debris objects with commercially available components. An astrodynamical analysis was carried out to assess the efficiency of the imposed thrust and the consequences on the probability of collision in LEO. In the paper we will report the outcomes of the study which allowed us to define: the requirements of a laser tracking and momentum transfer (LTMT) station, the minimum size of an LTMT network for LEO collision avoidance operation, the current technological challenges, and gaps to be filled before its implementation.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/145200/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Ground-based laser momentum transfer concept for debris collision avoidance
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Flohrer, TimTim.Flohrer (at) esa.intUNSPECIFIED
Scharring, StefanStefan.Scharring (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Dreyer, HeikoHeiko.Dreyer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Wagner, GerdGerd.Wagner (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Kästel, JürgenJuergen.Kaestel (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schafer, EwanEwan.Schafer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Wagner, PaulPaul.Wagner (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Riede, WolfgangWolfgang.Riede (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Bamann, ChristophFESG TU MünchenUNSPECIFIED
Hugentobler, UrsFESG TU MünchenUNSPECIFIED
Suchodolski, TomaszCBK PAN BorowiecUNSPECIFIED
Döberl, EgonASA AstrosystemeUNSPECIFIED
Weinzinger, DietmarASA AstrosystemeUNSPECIFIED
Promper, WolfgangASA AstrosystemeUNSPECIFIED
Date:October 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Space Debris, Satellite Laser Ranging, Laser Momentum Transfer, Collision Avoidance
Event Title:72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC)
Event Location:Dubai
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:25.-29.Okt. 2021
Organizer:International Astronautical Federation (IAF)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space System Technology
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R SY - Space System Technology
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project Use of Lasers for the Detection of Space Debris
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Technical Physics > Active Optical Systems
Institute of Technical Physics > Solid State Lasers and Nonlinear Optics
Deposited By: Scharring, Stefan
Deposited On:17 Nov 2021 16:30
Last Modified:30 May 2022 09:41

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