2017.A.3.3. CubeSat: A Candidate Mission Strategy for the Multi-Asteroid Target Exploration


Peng Wang (1)
Xiaoyu Wu (2)
Lihua Zhang (1)

  1. DFH Satellite Co. Ltd, China
  2. Beijing Institute of Technology, China




Cubesat Libration point Multi-Asteroid Low energy transfer  trajectories


CubeSat is a new kind of nano-satellites for space mission without the limitation of the huge budget of traditional spacecraft. The standard size of cubesat is 10×10×10cm, having a mass of only1.33 kilograms, which can be easily launched by the most of commercial rockets. This paper proposes a mission strategy for the exploration of multi-asteroids performed by a cubesat set from Sun-Earth L2 libration point. A set of cubsats is kept in the Sun-Earth L2 Halo orbit during the mission period. Taking advantage of the high potential energy of the Halo orbit, a fast low-energy transfer trajectory between the orbit and the asteroids with considering the ephemeris constraints is developed. According to the structure of the invariant manifold corresponding to the Halo orbit, the feasibility of employing the planetary gravity-assist to save the fuel consumption is first analyzed from the view of orbital energy. For a selected target asteroid, the appropriate transfer scheme combining the pseudo-manifold with large perturbation and gravity-assistis constructed. After the transfer from one of the cubesat set to asteroid is performed, other asteroids can also be selected as the targets for the exploration of the remaining cubesats utilizing the same method. A global searching method based on patched-models is proposed to find the appropriate target for other cubesats. In this method, the complex nonlinear planning problem is decoupled into several simple sub-problems, and an analytical algorithm is used to connect the trajectories in different dynamical models. A total of 10 near-Earth objectives are selected as the mission target for the corresponding cubesats. According to the designed transfer trajectories, this paper shows the feasibility of the cubesat set to explore multi-asteroid target using this method repeatedly. The numerical results indicate that the total required velocity increment for rendezvous is located in the interval [0.6101 km/s, 1.7969 km/s], which can be significantly reduced compared with the classical single-target asteroid mission performed by one spacecraft.


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