The paper is devoted to the issue of active large space debris removal. The contactless method of influencing space debris through the ion flow is considered. The main advantage of this method is absence of a dangerous and complex stage of space debris capturing or docking. In this study, the project “Ion Beam Shepherd” was taken as a basis. The aim of this paper is to study the effect of the atmosphere in LEO on the space debris behaviour during its removal. The equations of plane motion of space debris under the action of the ion beam, gravitational and aerodynamic forces and torques were obtained using Lagrange formalism. For calculation ion beam force and torque the self-similar model of ion engine plume exploration and fully diffused reflection model of ions interaction with the surface were used. Simulation of deorbiting the spent upper stage of the Cosmos 3M rocket was carried out. Phase portraits of the rocket stage attitude motion for various heights were constructed and analysed. It was shown that the motion of the stage around its centre of mass has a noticeable effect on the average ion beam force and descent time.
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