ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
Magnetorquer Design for Improved Demisability in Uncontrolled Re-Entry LEO Platforms
The increasing Space Debris population, particularly of man-made origin at Low Earth Orbits, puts at risk the sustainable use of the space environment. There is a trend for countries and agencies to set requirements that impact design at system and subsystem level, particularly for LEO platforms. During uncontrolled re-entries, some elements have a higher probability of surviving re-entry and hitting the ground. This is due to different factors such as design, material, spacecraft positioning and others. Magnetorquers (MTQ) are found to be one such element; ergo, their development shall aim for an improved demisability performance to mitigate against the casualty risk. MTQ are relatively simple actuators that can generate a torque by interacting with Earth?s magnetic field. They are used to provide control to the spacecraft attitude. This paper starts by showing an MTQ demisability assessment: computer simulation and test validation campaign. Previous experimental data had been already collected by the authors and is hereby consolidated. The second part of the paper reveals how the outputs of the demisability assessment are used iteratively to design an MTQ with improved demisability features and performance. Data-driven conclusions and overall recommendations are provided at the end of the paper.