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The Recycler: an Innovative Approach to On-Orbit Servicing and Repurposing

Guardabasso, Paolo and Savino, Michele Pio and Turner, Calum and Valeriani, Roberta and Vuyge, Marie-Laure and Barbara, Nicholas H. and Lizy-Destrez, Stéphanie The Recycler: an Innovative Approach to On-Orbit Servicing and Repurposing. (2020) In: 71st International Astronautical Congress - The CyberSPace Edition (IAC 2020), 12 October 2020 - 14 October 2020 (Paris, France).

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Due to its unique properties, the Geostationary Orbit (GEO) hosts one of the most relevant sectors of the satellite indus- try, with hundreds of satellites providing telecommunications, meteorology, military, and many other similarly crucial services. GEO satellites can be very expensive to build, launch and operate: they are hence expected to work seamlessly throughout their lifetime, and a malfunction can represent a major economic loss. Instead of replacing the satellite or accepting reduced performances, a malfunctioning satellite could be repaired on site by replacing the faulty component with a functional one, harvested from non-operational satellites and later repurposed. This paper presents the concept of the “Recycler”, a spacecraft used to procure replacements for operational GEO satellites by harvesting intact com- ponents from non-operational spacecraft in the GEO graveyard (the region with altitude approximately GEO ±250 km) and surrounding areas. By recovering and repurposing existing hardware, the Recycler would be accessing a previously non-existent second-hand satellite market. The preliminary mission design and analysis for the Recycler are described, together with a system-level assessment of required components. Given a database of potential targets and a set of client satellites, the Recycler performs multiple missions between several target satellites and a Space Factory, where parts are stored to be later repurposed or recycled for raw materials. Methods to find the optimal sequence of multi-target trans- fers are investigated, including several phasing strategies and methods to simulate low-thrust trajectories, evaluating the mission times and ∆V ’s. Moreover, the target approach procedure, and the technologies and processes to assess the satellite’s non-collaborative target’s attitude and state are reported. The full rendezvous sequence, including a closed- loop approach to the target and station keeping manoeuvres, is simulated to evaluate times and ∆V ’s required. Finally, the possibility of using a swarm of scanner satellites to perform inspections of unknown targets is discussed, with the final aim of characterising the GEO debris environment.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:https://iafastro.directory/iac/paper/id/56356/summary/
Audience (conference):International conference proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Other partners > Università di Roma - SAPIENZA (ITALY)
Other partners > University of Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:05 May 2021 11:13

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