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Towards a sustainable exploitation of the geosynchronous orbital region. (English) Zbl 1451.70042
Summary: In this work the orbital dynamics of Earth satellites about the geosynchronous altitude are explored, with primary goal to assess current mitigation guidelines as well as to discuss the future exploitation of the region. A thorough dynamical mapping was conducted in a high-definition grid of orbital elements, enabled by a fast and accurate semi-analytical propagator, which considers all the relevant perturbations. The results are presented in appropriately selected stability maps to highlight the underlying mechanisms and their interplay, which can lead to stable graveyard orbits or fast re-entry pathways. The natural separation of the long-term evolution between equatorial and inclined satellites is discussed in terms of post-mission disposal strategies. Moreover, we confirm the existence of an effective cleansing mechanism for inclined geosynchronous satellites and discuss its implications in terms of current guidelines as well as alternative mission designs that could lead to a sustainable use of the geosynchronous orbital region.
70M20 Orbital mechanics
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