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Tiangong-1's accelerated self-spin before reentry
Lin, Hou-Yuan1,6; Zhu, Ting-Lei1,6; Liang, Zhi-Peng2,6; Zhao, Chang-Yin1,6; Wei, Dong1,6; Zhang, Wei1,6; Han, Xing-Wei2,6; Zhang, Hai-Feng3,6; Wei, Zhi-Bin4; Li YQ(李语强)5,6
SourceEarth, Planets and Space
KeywordTiangong-1 Rotational state estimation Space debris SLR
SubtypeJournal article (JA)
English Abstract

The detection and study of the rotational motion of space debris, which is affected by environmental factors, is a popular topic. However, relevant research in extremely low-orbit regions cannot be conducted due to a lack of observational data. Here, we fill in the gaps to present the rotational evolution of Tiangong-1 in the 5 months prior to reentry. Derived from the changes in the relative distance of its two corner cube reflectors from satellite laser ranging data, the angular momentum of Tiangong-1, which is relatively stable during observation, deviates from its maximum principal axis of inertia and precesses around the normal direction of the orbital plane due to gravity gradient torque at an angle of 23.1∘±2.5∘. Requiring consistency with the relationship between the angular momentum and precession rate leads to a solution for the rotation rate, which is thus found to increase. This result cannot be explained by any previously developed torque models. Hence, an atmospheric density gradient torque (ADGT) model that considers the torque generated by the change in atmospheric density with orbital altitude at the satellite scale is proposed to explain the rotational acceleration mechanism of extremely low-orbit objects. The numerical results show that the ADGT model provides a non-negligible ability to explain, but cannot fully describe, the acceleration effect. The data on the rotational evolution of Tiangong-1 can provide an important basis for aerodynamic model improvement by addressing minor factors omitted in previous models.

Subject天文学 ; 空间天文学
Funding ProjectNational Natural Science Foundation of China[11533010] ; National Natural Science Foundation of China[11703095] ; Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS[2018353] ; Chinese Academy of Sciences Foundation[KGFZD-135-16-012]
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Funding OrganizationNational Natural Science Foundation of China[11533010, 11703095] ; Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS[2018353] ; Chinese Academy of Sciences Foundation[KGFZD-135-16-012]
Content Type期刊论文
Corresponding AuthorZhao, Chang-Yin
Affiliation1.Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 210034, China;
2.Changchun Observatory, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, 130117, China;
3.Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200030, China;
4.Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping, Beijing, 100830, China;
5.Yunnan Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650216, China;
6.Key Laboratory of Space Object and Debris Observation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 210034, China
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Lin, Hou-Yuan,Zhu, Ting-Lei,Liang, Zhi-Peng,et al. Tiangong-1's accelerated self-spin before reentry[J]. Earth, Planets and Space,2019,71(1).
APA Lin, Hou-Yuan.,Zhu, Ting-Lei.,Liang, Zhi-Peng.,Zhao, Chang-Yin.,Wei, Dong.,...&Deng, Hua-Rong.(2019).Tiangong-1's accelerated self-spin before reentry.Earth, Planets and Space,71(1).
MLA Lin, Hou-Yuan,et al."Tiangong-1's accelerated self-spin before reentry".Earth, Planets and Space 71.1(2019).
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