Design of optimal Earth pole-sitter transfers using low-thrust propulsion

Jeannette Heiligers, Matteo Ceriotti, Colin McInnes, James Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent studies have shown the feasibility of an Earth pole-sitter mission using low-thrust propulsion. This mission concept involves a spacecraft following the Earth's polar axis to have a continuous, hemispherical view of one of the Earth's poles. Such a view will enhance future Earth observation and telecommunications for high latitude and polar regions. To assess the accessibility of the pole-sitter orbit, this paper investigates optimum Earth pole-sitter transfers employing low-thrust propulsion. A launch from low Earth orbit (LEO) by a Soyuz Fregat upper stage is assumed after which solar electric propulsion is used to transfer the spacecraft to the pole-sitter orbit. The objective is to minimize the mass in LEO for a given spacecraft mass to be inserted into the pole-sitter orbit. The results are compared with a ballistic transfer that exploits manifold-like trajectories that wind onto the pole-sitter orbit. It is shown that, with respect to the ballistic case, low-thrust propulsion can achieve significant mass savings in excess of 200 kg for a pole-sitter spacecraft of 1000 kg upon insertion. To finally obtain a full low-thrust transfer from LEO up to the pole-sitter orbit, the Fregat launch is replaced by a low-thrust, minimum time spiral, which provides further mass savings, but at the cost of an increased time of flight.


LanguageEnglish
Pages253-268
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Fingerprint

Propulsion
Poles
Earth (planet)
Orbits
Spacecraft
Ballistics
Electric propulsion
Telecommunication
Trajectories

Keywords

  • Pole-sitter
  • trajectory optimization
  • solar electric propulsion
  • low-thrust propulsion
  • Soyuz launch
  • orbital averaging
  • low-thrust spiral

Cite this

Heiligers, Jeannette ; Ceriotti, Matteo ; McInnes, Colin ; Biggs, James. / Design of optimal Earth pole-sitter transfers using low-thrust propulsion. In: Acta Astronautica. 2012 ; Vol. 79. pp. 253-268.
@article{7c473ca9a0e74a4181bcbcd5ede8a2ec,
title = "Design of optimal Earth pole-sitter transfers using low-thrust propulsion",
abstract = "Recent studies have shown the feasibility of an Earth pole-sitter mission using low-thrust propulsion. This mission concept involves a spacecraft following the Earth's polar axis to have a continuous, hemispherical view of one of the Earth's poles. Such a view will enhance future Earth observation and telecommunications for high latitude and polar regions. To assess the accessibility of the pole-sitter orbit, this paper investigates optimum Earth pole-sitter transfers employing low-thrust propulsion. A launch from low Earth orbit (LEO) by a Soyuz Fregat upper stage is assumed after which solar electric propulsion is used to transfer the spacecraft to the pole-sitter orbit. The objective is to minimize the mass in LEO for a given spacecraft mass to be inserted into the pole-sitter orbit. The results are compared with a ballistic transfer that exploits manifold-like trajectories that wind onto the pole-sitter orbit. It is shown that, with respect to the ballistic case, low-thrust propulsion can achieve significant mass savings in excess of 200 kg for a pole-sitter spacecraft of 1000 kg upon insertion. To finally obtain a full low-thrust transfer from LEO up to the pole-sitter orbit, the Fregat launch is replaced by a low-thrust, minimum time spiral, which provides further mass savings, but at the cost of an increased time of flight.",
keywords = "Pole-sitter , trajectory optimization , solar electric propulsion , low-thrust propulsion , Soyuz launch , orbital averaging , low-thrust spiral",
author = "Jeannette Heiligers and Matteo Ceriotti and Colin McInnes and James Biggs",
year = "2012",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.025",
language = "English",
volume = "79",
pages = "253--268",
journal = "Acta Astronautica",
issn = "0094-5765",

}

Design of optimal Earth pole-sitter transfers using low-thrust propulsion. / Heiligers, Jeannette; Ceriotti, Matteo; McInnes, Colin; Biggs, James.

In: Acta Astronautica, Vol. 79, 10.2012, p. 253-268.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Design of optimal Earth pole-sitter transfers using low-thrust propulsion

AU - Heiligers, Jeannette

AU - Ceriotti, Matteo

AU - McInnes, Colin

AU - Biggs, James

PY - 2012/10

Y1 - 2012/10

N2 - Recent studies have shown the feasibility of an Earth pole-sitter mission using low-thrust propulsion. This mission concept involves a spacecraft following the Earth's polar axis to have a continuous, hemispherical view of one of the Earth's poles. Such a view will enhance future Earth observation and telecommunications for high latitude and polar regions. To assess the accessibility of the pole-sitter orbit, this paper investigates optimum Earth pole-sitter transfers employing low-thrust propulsion. A launch from low Earth orbit (LEO) by a Soyuz Fregat upper stage is assumed after which solar electric propulsion is used to transfer the spacecraft to the pole-sitter orbit. The objective is to minimize the mass in LEO for a given spacecraft mass to be inserted into the pole-sitter orbit. The results are compared with a ballistic transfer that exploits manifold-like trajectories that wind onto the pole-sitter orbit. It is shown that, with respect to the ballistic case, low-thrust propulsion can achieve significant mass savings in excess of 200 kg for a pole-sitter spacecraft of 1000 kg upon insertion. To finally obtain a full low-thrust transfer from LEO up to the pole-sitter orbit, the Fregat launch is replaced by a low-thrust, minimum time spiral, which provides further mass savings, but at the cost of an increased time of flight.

AB - Recent studies have shown the feasibility of an Earth pole-sitter mission using low-thrust propulsion. This mission concept involves a spacecraft following the Earth's polar axis to have a continuous, hemispherical view of one of the Earth's poles. Such a view will enhance future Earth observation and telecommunications for high latitude and polar regions. To assess the accessibility of the pole-sitter orbit, this paper investigates optimum Earth pole-sitter transfers employing low-thrust propulsion. A launch from low Earth orbit (LEO) by a Soyuz Fregat upper stage is assumed after which solar electric propulsion is used to transfer the spacecraft to the pole-sitter orbit. The objective is to minimize the mass in LEO for a given spacecraft mass to be inserted into the pole-sitter orbit. The results are compared with a ballistic transfer that exploits manifold-like trajectories that wind onto the pole-sitter orbit. It is shown that, with respect to the ballistic case, low-thrust propulsion can achieve significant mass savings in excess of 200 kg for a pole-sitter spacecraft of 1000 kg upon insertion. To finally obtain a full low-thrust transfer from LEO up to the pole-sitter orbit, the Fregat launch is replaced by a low-thrust, minimum time spiral, which provides further mass savings, but at the cost of an increased time of flight.

KW - Pole-sitter

KW - trajectory optimization

KW - solar electric propulsion

KW - low-thrust propulsion

KW - Soyuz launch

KW - orbital averaging

KW - low-thrust spiral

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84862155704&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.025

DO - 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.025

M3 - Article

VL - 79

SP - 253

EP - 268

JO - Acta Astronautica

T2 - Acta Astronautica

JF - Acta Astronautica

SN - 0094-5765

ER -