Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) using Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) for Research, Mining, and Exploration Endeavors of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs)
Harriel, Torrey Paul
The feasibility of relocating a small (~500,000 kg) Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) to High Earth Orbit via Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) is evaluated with the orbital simulation software General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT). Using prior research as a basis for the mission parameters, a retrieval mission to NEA 2008 HU4 is simulated in two parts: approach from Earth and return of the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV) with the asteroid in tow. Success of such a mission would pave the way for future missions to larger NEAs and other deep space endeavors. It is shown that for a hypothetical launch time of 24 May 2016, the ARV could arrive within 25 km of 2008 HU4 on 28 Jun 2017 with a Delta V of 0.406 km/s, begin return maneuver on 08 Dec 2017 and reach Earth altitude of 450,000 km by 23 Apr 2026 with a Delta V of 44.639 m/s.