The Role of Impacts and Momentum Transfer for the Evolution of Envisat’s Attitude State

Schildknecht, Thomas; Silha, Jiri; Krag, H. (September 2017). The Role of Impacts and Momentum Transfer for the Evolution of Envisat’s Attitude State. In: Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference. Curran Associates

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The currently proposed space debris remediation measures include the active removal of large objects and “just in time” collision avoidance by deviating the objects using, e.g., ground-based lasers. These techniques require precise knowledge of the attitude state and state changes of the target objects. In the former case, e.g. to devise methods to capture the target with a tug spacecraft, in the latter, to precisely propagate the orbits of potential collision partners, as disturbing forces like air drag and solar radiation pressure depend on the attitude of the objects. The long-term evolution of the attitude motion is, among many other causes, depending on the effects of possible im-
pacts of debris and meteoroid, while momentum transfer from reaction wheels or other moving internal components may contribute to the root cause of the initial attitude motion. Impacts of small particles like meteoroids and space debris pieces on compact space objects are unavoidable events, which were already observed several times, e.g., on International Space Station, or rather recently on the Sentinel-1A on
August 23, 2016. This paper will discuss a detailed analysis of the effects of momentum transfer from the reaction wheels and of debris and meteoroid impacts for the particular case of Envisat. Based on the physical model of Envisat and the MASTER
environment model, the likelihood to have an impact-related attitude rate increase in ten years larger than selected threshold rates was determined.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Schildknecht, Thomas and Silha, Jiri


500 Science > 520 Astronomy




Curran Associates




Alessandro Vananti

Date Deposited:

08 Dec 2017 10:46

Last Modified:

11 Feb 2019 12:22

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