Vol 15, No 9

Feasible region and stability analysis for hovering around elongated asteroids with low thrust

Hong-Wei Yang, Xiang-Yuan Zeng, Hexi Baoyin


Abstract This paper investigates properties of low-thrust hovering, including the feasible region and stability, in terms of the dynamical parameters for elongated asteroids. An approximate rotating mass dipole model, by which the description of the rotational gravitational field is reduced to two independent parameters, is employed to construct normalized dynamical equations. The boundaries of the feasible region are determined by contours representing the magnitude of the active control. The effects of a rotating gravitational field and maximal magnitude of the low thrust on the feasible hovering regions are analyzed with numerical results. The stability conditions are derived according to the forms of the eigenvalues of the linearized equation near the hovering position. The stable regions are then determined by a grid search and the effects of the relevant parameters are analyzed in a parametric way. The results show that a close hovering can be easier to realize near the middle of the asteroid than near the two ends in the sense of both required control magnitude and stability.


Keywords space vehicles — celestial mechanics — cosmology — observations

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