This paper presents simulation models and an analysis of the hovering capability of an electrostatic spacecraft around a small celestial body. The hovering capabilities of an electrically actuated spacecraft are evaluated by combining orbital dynamics analysis with 3-D fully kinetic particle-in-cell simulations of asteroid/spacecraft interactions with the solar-wind plasma. The zero-velocity curves obtained from the analysis allow the identification of the equilibrium points for different levels of charge. The analysis of the system equilibria indicates the presence of equilibrium points in the combined gravitational, electrostatic, and solar illumination fields, most of which can be obtained by charging the spacecraft negatively. The charge-to-mass ratio needed to hover is obtained for different orbital positions, and an analysis of the sensitivity of the equilibria with respect to the spacecraft equivalent radius and with respect to the sun-to-main-body distance provides additional insight into the system dynamics.

Hovering of an Electrically Actuated Spacecraft in a Small-Body Plasma Field

Bechini, Michele;Lavagna, Michèle;
2021

Abstract

This paper presents simulation models and an analysis of the hovering capability of an electrostatic spacecraft around a small celestial body. The hovering capabilities of an electrically actuated spacecraft are evaluated by combining orbital dynamics analysis with 3-D fully kinetic particle-in-cell simulations of asteroid/spacecraft interactions with the solar-wind plasma. The zero-velocity curves obtained from the analysis allow the identification of the equilibrium points for different levels of charge. The analysis of the system equilibria indicates the presence of equilibrium points in the combined gravitational, electrostatic, and solar illumination fields, most of which can be obtained by charging the spacecraft negatively. The charge-to-mass ratio needed to hover is obtained for different orbital positions, and an analysis of the sensitivity of the equilibria with respect to the spacecraft equivalent radius and with respect to the sun-to-main-body distance provides additional insight into the system dynamics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1175684
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