ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

GNC Challenges for Heavy Debris Removal with Flexible Link
Presented at:
Porto 2014
Full paper:

Airbus Defence & Space has identified heavy active debris removal as one of its top 5 priority for internal Research & Technology projects. Different families of spacecraft solutions and especially of technological solutions for capture have been investigated for heavy debris removal. Capture solution can be as diverse as rigid link solutions, for which target and chaser are linked via mechanical process, contactless solutions, for which chaser is in close proximity of the target for de-orbitation phase or flexible link solutions, for which target and chaser are linked with a tether at medium range. The use of flexible link solutions implies maneuvers up to only several dozens of meters from the target. During the approach phase the accuracy required with a vehicle using flexible link, and thus the complexity of the vehicle, is then reduced wrt vehicle using rigid link. After the capture, the flexible link will however imply serious changes in the Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) layout for de-orbitation with respect to rigid link solutions. This paper presents the Flight Control proposed for controlled de-orbitation of a vehicle with multi-boost strategy, for a vehicle attached to heavy debris with a flexible link.