PhD in Resonance Capture of Low-Thrust Spacecraft Around a Small Body

University of Strathclyde

PhD 3 years Glasgow, UK

Uploaded 10 May 2020

Job Description

This project will address the probability of spacecraft’s capture into these resonances with a small body for the first time, and will develop optimal strategies to manoeuvre the captured spacecraft out of the resonances. 

Due to the low cost and flexibility, the applications of low thrust and microprobes (e.g. CubeSats, NanoSats and their constellations) to space missions become popular. However, the time of flight incredibly increases. Therefore, during the multiple-revolution orbital transfer among mission orbits, the spacecraft (s/c) slowly crosses the regions that are probably in mean-motion resonances (MMR) with the central body, which gives rise to the possibility of being captured into MMR and consequently brings about strong perturbations on its motion. In order to reduce the capture risk and enhance mission robustness, this project will quantitatively estimates the probability of spacecraft’s capture into first-order MMR with a small body for the first time.The dependences of this probability on the orbital geometry will be identified. To provide insights on transferring the captured s/c out of the MMR, potential maneuver strategies will be developed and optimized for minimum fuel consumption and transfer time due to the limited maneuver and operational capabilities.