On the Simulation of Tether-Nets for Space Debris Capture with Vortex Dynamics
Botta, Eleonora M.
Misra, Arun K.
MetadataShow full item record
Tether-nets are one of the more promising methods for the active removal of space debris. The aim of this paper is to study the dynamics of this type of systems in space, which is still not well-known and the simulation of which has multiple outstanding issues. In particular, the focus is on the deployment and capture phases of a net-based active debris removal mission, and on the effect of including the bending stiffness of the net threads on the dynamical characteristics of the net and on the computational efficiency. Lumped-parameter modeling of the net in Vortex Dynamics, without bending stiffness representation, is introduced first and validated then, against results obtained with an equivalent model in Matlab, using numerical simulations of the deployment phase. A model able to reproduce the bending stiffness of the net in Vortex Dynamics is proposed, and the outcome of a net deployment simulation is compared to the results of simulation without bending stiffness. A simulation of net-based capture of a derelict spacecraft is analyzed from the point of view of evaluating the effect of modeling the bending stiffness. From comparison of simulations with and without bending stiffness representation, it is found that bending stiffness has a significant influence both on the simulation results and on the computation time. When bending stiffness is included, the net is more resistant to the changes in its shape caused both by the motion of the corner masses (during deployment) and by the contact with the debris (during capture).