Post-Newtonian equations of motion for LEO debris objects and space-based acquisition, pointing and tracking laser systems Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2017

start page

  • 132

end page

  • 142

volume

  • 141

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-5765

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2030

abstract

  • This paper deals with the problem of throwing middle-sized low Earth orbit debris objects into the atmosphere via laser ablation. The post-Newtonian equations here provided allow (hypothetical) space-based acquisition, pointing and tracking systems endowed with very narrow laser beams to reach the pointing accuracy presently prescribed. In fact, whatever the orbital elements of these objects may be, these equations will allow the operators to account for the corrections needed to balance the deviations of the line of sight directions due to the curvature of the paths the laser beams are to travel along. To minimize the respective corrections, the systems will have to perform initial positioning manoeuvres, and the shooting point-ahead angles will have to be adapted in real time. The enclosed numerical experiments suggest that neglecting these measures will cause fatal errors, due to differences in the actual locations of the objects comparable to their size.

keywords

  • space-based apt laser systems; leo space debris; relative motions; earth post-newtonian framework