Rotating space debris objects net capture dynamics

Aeronautical and Space-Rocket Engineering

Design, construction and manufacturing of flying vehicles


Yudintsev V. V.

Samara National Research University named after Academician S.P. Korolev, 34, Moskovskoye shosse, Samara, 443086, Russia



By now, several methods for near Earth orbits active cleaning from large-size space debris were suggested. The most difficult stage of such mission is the stage of space debris capture. Capturing method selection and subsequent orbital transportation of space debris depends on its type and angular motion. Rockets' orbital stages may rotate with high angular velocity, which aggravates their capture by manipulators and other means. One of prospective techniques of such object capture is application of a net connected with the space tug by a tether. The object capture by a net can be performed by the net separation with a certain relative speed in relation to the space tug and space debris, or by the net unrolling on the trajectory of the space debris object relative to the space tug. Elastic properties of the net and tether allow reduce the load acting on the space tug while an object capturing process and control the value of this impact.

The paper presents discrete mathematical model of the net movement as a system of material points' elastic interaction, as well as these components interaction with the space debris surface. The possibility of capturing an orbiter type object, rotating with significant angular velocity was demonstrated through this model. The article demonstrates that capturing the object, rotating with angular speed of 5 degrees per second, requires the speed of the net relative to the space debris from 2 to 5 m/s. To capture an object, rotating with angular speed of 30 degrees per second, the net speed should be no less than 10 m/s.


space debris, space tug, capture, net


  1. Usovik I.V., Darnopykh V.V., Malyshev V.V. Vestnik Moskovskogo aviatsionnogo instituta, 2015, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 54–62.

  2. Liou J.C., Johnson N.L., Hill N.M. Controlling the growth of future LEO debris populations with active debris removal. Acta Astronautica, 2010, vol. 66, no. 5–6, pp. 648–653. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2009.08.005

  3. Ashurbeili I.R., Lagovier A.I., Ignat'ev A.B., Nazarenko A.V. Trudy MAI, 2011, no. 43, available at:

  4. Trushlyakov V.I., Yutkin E.A. Omskii nauchnyi vestnik, 2013, no. 2(120), pp. 56–61.

  5. Avdeev A.V. Trudy MAI, 2012, no. 61, available at:

  6. Aslanov V.S., Alekseev A.V., Ledkov A.S. Trudy MAI, 2016, no. 90, available at:

  7. Aslanov V.S., Yudintsev V.V. Dynamics of Large Debris Connected to Space Tug by a Tether. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 2013, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 1654-1660. DOI: 10.2514/1.60976

  8. Aslanov V.S., Yudintsev V.V. Vestnik Moskovskogo aviatsionnogo instituta, 2018, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 7–17.

  9. Gilardi G., Kawamoto S., Kibe S. Capture of a Non-Cooperative Object Using a Two-Arm Manipulator. 55th International Astronautical Congress, 2004, Vancouver, Canada. DOI: 10.2514/6.IAC-04-A.5.06

  10. Dudziak R., Tuttle S., Barraclough S. Harpoon technology development for the active removal of space debris. Advances in Space Research. 2015, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 509–527. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2015.04.012

  11. Schaub H., Sternovsky Z. Active space debris charging for contactless electrostatic disposal maneuvers. Advances in Space Research, 2014, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 110–118. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2013.10.003

  12. Benvenuto R., Lavagna M. Flexible Capture Devices for Medium to Large Debris Active Removal: Simulations Results to Drive Experiments. 12th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Automation and Robotics, 2013, Noordwijk, The Netherlands. URI:

  13. Guang Z., Jing-rui Z. Space tether net system for debris capture and removal. 4th International Conference on Intelligent Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics, 2012. DOI: 10.1109/IHMSC.2012.71

  14. Lavagna M., Armellin R., Bombelli A. and Benvenuto R. Debris Removal Mechanism Based on Tethered Nets. International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), 2012, Torino, Italy. URI:

  15. Botta E.M., Sharf I., Misra A.K. Contact dynamics modeling and simulation of tether nets for space-debris capture. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 2017, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 110-123. DOI: 10.2514/1.G000677

  16. Cercós L., Stefanescu R., Medina A., Benvenuto R., Lavagna M., González I., Rodríguez N., Wormnes K. Validation of a Net Active Debris Removal simulator within parabolic flight experiment. 12th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), 2014. URI:

  17. Stiles L., Schaub H., Maute K., Moorer D. Electrostatic Inflation of Membrane Space Structures. AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Guidance, Navigation, and Control and Co-located Conferences, 2010, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. DOI: 10.2514/6.2010-8134

  18. Barcelo B., Sobel E. Space Tethers: Applications and Implementations. An Interactive Qualifying Project Report submitted to the Faculty of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Science, 2007, 49 p.

  19. Van der Heide E.J., Kruijff M. Tethers and debris mitigation. Acta Astronautica, 2001, vol. 48, no. 512, pp. 503–516. DOI: 10.1016/S0094-5765(01)00074-1

  20. Don Ch. Vestnik Moskovskogo aviatsionnogo instituta, 2018, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 84-91.

  21. Kul'kov V.M. Vestnik Moskovskogo aviatsionnogo instituta, 2011, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 41-46.

  22. Wittenburg J. Dynamics of Systems of Rigid Bodies. B.G. Teubner Stuttgart, 1977, 224 p. — informational site of MAI

Copyright © 1994-2023 by MAI