The gravitational field of asteroids and comets often has a complex dynamically changing shape. The study of the gravitational field of such bodies is essential for the design of missions, especially for missions involving maneuvering in close proximity, landing, and takeoff from the surface of a celestial body. This chapter deals to the problem of spacecraft’s controlled motion near objects with irregular gravitational fields. We propose to use a propulsion system based on ion electrospray propulsions (iESP), which usually used to control the spacecraft’s motion relative to the mass center. The chapter describes the gravitational field of an asteroid as the superposition of the fields of two rotating point masses. The proposed control laws made it possible to stabilize the orbit near the asteroid surface. We performed the simulation of motion close to two relatively well-studied asteroids Eros and Gaspra. The results of the simulation demonstrated that the using of iESP as the auxiliary propulsion systems is sufficient to control the spacecraft’s motion in irregular gravitational fields.
Part of the book: Electrospinning and Electrospraying