Jody A. Paris

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Nathan A. Titus, PhD


Orbit disposal and maintenance of aging satellites has become a significant concern over the past few years, as the increasing number of orbiting objects threatens to limit the launching of future satellites. Many of the satellites currently in orbit, however, were not built with disposal considerations. The DSCS II series was launched into orbit beginning in the 1970s, and many satellites are now without the fuel required to conventionally transition to a sanctioned disposal orbit. In GEO orbit the largest non-gravitational perturbation is solar radiation pressure. By adjusting the attitude of a satellite with a controller to maximize the perturbing acceleration due to the force of SRP, the satellite can be slowly raised into a disposal orbit. The results from this study, along with validation results propagated with STK, are presented. After making several simplifying assumptions, the time required to raise the modelled DSCS II F-13 satellite 400 km into a disposal orbit is approximately 33 years. This time-to-disposal can be reduced by using a larger area-to-mass ratio and more reflective surface materials.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number


Included in

Astrodynamics Commons