Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics ›› 2019, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 749-759.doi: 10.21629/JSEE.2019.04.12

• Systems Engineering • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Retrieval strategy for failed satellite on tether's optimal balance swing angle

Yanhua HAN*(), Junting HONG()   

  • Received:2018-02-27 Online:2019-08-01 Published:2019-09-01
  • Contact: Yanhua HAN;
  • About author:HAN Yanhua was born in 1976. He received his Ph.D. degree in navigation, guidance and control from Northwestern Polytechnical University in 2006. He is currently an associate professor in the College of Astronautics at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research interests include tethered satellite system, and space manipulator. E-mail:|HONG Junting was born in 1993. She received her B.E. degree in building electrical and intelligent engineering from Sanjiang College in 2018. She is currently a graduate student in the College of Astronautics at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Her research direction is system simulation. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(NUAA NS2016082);This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (NUAA NS2016082)


A retrieval control strategy for failed satellite, which is connected to a servicing spacecraft by a tether, is studied. The Lagrange analytical mechanics based dynamics modeling for the system composed of a servicing spacecraft, a tether and a failed satellite, is presented under the earth center inertia coordinate system, then model simplification is conducted under the assumption that the failed satellite's mass is far smaller than the servicing spacecraft's, meanwhile the tether's length is far smaller than the size of the servicing spacecraft's orbit. Analysis shows that the retrieval process is intrinsically unstable as the Coriolis force functions is a negative damping. A retrieval strategy based on only the tether's tension is designed, resulting in the fastest retrieval speed. In the proposed strategy, firstly, the tether's swing angle amplitude is adjusted to 45° by deploying/retrieving the tether; then the tether swings freely with fixed length until it reaches negative maximum angle -45°; finally, the tether is retrieved by the pre-assigned exponential law. For simplicity, only the coplanar situation, that the tether swings in the plane of the servicing spacecraft's orbit, is studied. Numerical simulation verifies the effectiveness of the strategy proposed.

Key words: tethered space tug (TST), retrieval control strategy, failed satellite, space debris, on-orbit service