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Astrodynamics

Article Title

Planetary defense mission concepts for disrupting/pulverizing hazardous asteroids with short warning time

Keywords

planetary defense, kinetic-energy impactor (KEI), asteroid disruption, terminal intercept guidance, heavy-lift launch vehicles, (HLLV)

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of space mission concepts for disrupting or pulverizinghazardous asteroids, especially with warning time shorter than approximately 10 years. Aninnovative mission concept, referred to as a nuclear hypervelocity asteroid intercept vehicle(HAIV) system, employs both a kinetic-energy impactor and nuclear explosive devices. Anew mission concept of exploiting a multiple kinetic-energy impactor vehicle (MKIV) systemthat doesn’t employ nuclear explosives is proposed in this paper, especially for asteroidssmaller than approximately 150 m in diameter. The multiple shock wave interaction effect ondisrupting or pulverizing a small asteroid is discussed using hydrodynamic simulation results.A multi-target terminal guidance problem and a planetary defense mission design employinga heavy-lift launch vehicle are also briefly discussed in support of the new non-nuclear MKIVmission concept. The nuclear HAIV and non-nuclear MKIV systems complement to eachother to effectively mitigate the various asteroid impact threats with short warning time.

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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