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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2017, Article ID 1986374, 7 pages
Research Article

Attitude Motion of Cylindrical Space Debris during Its Removal by Ion Beam

Samara National Research University, 34 Moskovskoye Shosse, Samara 443086, Russia

Correspondence should be addressed to Vladimir S. Aslanov; ur.liam@sv_vonalsa

Received 23 June 2017; Revised 4 October 2017; Accepted 8 November 2017; Published 26 November 2017

Academic Editor: Viktor Avrutin

Copyright © 2017 Vladimir S. Aslanov and Alexander S. Ledkov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The paper is devoted to the problem of space debris mitigation. Contactless method of the space debris deorbiting is considered. It is assumed that ion thrusters on the active spacecraft create the ion flow, which blows the debris and slows it down. The objectives of this work are the development of mathematical models and the research of space debris motion under the action of the ion flow. It is supposed that the space debris is a rigid body of a cylindrical shape. Calculation of ion beam force and torque was performed for a self-similar model of plasma plume expansion using the hypothesis of ion fully diffused reflection from a surface. A mathematical model describing plane motions of the cylindrical space debris under the influence of gravity gradient torque and the ion flux was constructed. It was shown that motion of the space debris around its center of mass has a significant effect on its removal time. Phase portraits, describing the motion of the space debris relative to its center of mass, were constructed. Comparison of the descent times in different motion modes was carried out. The results can be used to create new effective systems of large space debris removal.