General perturbation method for satellite constellation reconfiguration using low-thrust maneuvers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A general perturbation solution to a restricted low-thrust Lambert rendezvous problem, considering circular-to-circular in-plane maneuvers using tangential thrust and including a coast arc, is developed. This provides a fully analytical solution to the satellite reconnaissance problem. The solution requires no iteration. Its speed and simplicity allow problems involving numerous spacecraft and maneuvers to be studied; this is demonstrated through two case studies. In the first, a range of maneuvers providing a rapid flyover of Los Angeles is generated, giving an insight to the trade space and allowing the maneuver that best fulfills the mission to be selected. A reduction in flyover time from 13.8 to 1.6 days is possible using a less than 17 m∕s velocity change. A comparison with a numerical propagator including atmospheric friction and an 18th-order tesseral model shows 4 s of difference in the time of flyover. A second study considers a constellation of 24 satellites that can maneuver into repeating ground track orbits to provide persistent coverage of a region. A set of maneuvers for all satellites is generated for four sequential targets, allowing the most suitable maneuver strategy to be selected. Improvements in coverage of greater than 10 times are possible as compared to a static constellation using 35% of the propellant available across the constellation.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1676-1692
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics
Volume42
Issue number8
Early online date3 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019

Fingerprint

low thrust
satellite constellations
maneuvers
Perturbation Method
Reconfiguration
thrust
perturbation
Satellites
Coverage
constellations
Perturbation Solution
Rendezvous
Propellants
Propagator
Spacecraft
Coastal zones
Friction
Simplicity
Analytical Solution
Arc of a curve

Keywords

  • low Earth orbit
  • Earth observation
  • satellite reconnaissance

Cite this

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title = "General perturbation method for satellite constellation reconfiguration using low-thrust maneuvers",
abstract = "A general perturbation solution to a restricted low-thrust Lambert rendezvous problem, considering circular-to-circular in-plane maneuvers using tangential thrust and including a coast arc, is developed. This provides a fully analytical solution to the satellite reconnaissance problem. The solution requires no iteration. Its speed and simplicity allow problems involving numerous spacecraft and maneuvers to be studied; this is demonstrated through two case studies. In the first, a range of maneuvers providing a rapid flyover of Los Angeles is generated, giving an insight to the trade space and allowing the maneuver that best fulfills the mission to be selected. A reduction in flyover time from 13.8 to 1.6 days is possible using a less than 17 m∕s velocity change. A comparison with a numerical propagator including atmospheric friction and an 18th-order tesseral model shows 4 s of difference in the time of flyover. A second study considers a constellation of 24 satellites that can maneuver into repeating ground track orbits to provide persistent coverage of a region. A set of maneuvers for all satellites is generated for four sequential targets, allowing the most suitable maneuver strategy to be selected. Improvements in coverage of greater than 10 times are possible as compared to a static constellation using 35{\%} of the propellant available across the constellation.",
keywords = "low Earth orbit, Earth observation, satellite reconnaissance",
author = "McGrath, {Ciara N.} and Malcolm Macdonald",
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T1 - General perturbation method for satellite constellation reconfiguration using low-thrust maneuvers

AU - McGrath, Ciara N.

AU - Macdonald, Malcolm

PY - 2019/8/31

Y1 - 2019/8/31

N2 - A general perturbation solution to a restricted low-thrust Lambert rendezvous problem, considering circular-to-circular in-plane maneuvers using tangential thrust and including a coast arc, is developed. This provides a fully analytical solution to the satellite reconnaissance problem. The solution requires no iteration. Its speed and simplicity allow problems involving numerous spacecraft and maneuvers to be studied; this is demonstrated through two case studies. In the first, a range of maneuvers providing a rapid flyover of Los Angeles is generated, giving an insight to the trade space and allowing the maneuver that best fulfills the mission to be selected. A reduction in flyover time from 13.8 to 1.6 days is possible using a less than 17 m∕s velocity change. A comparison with a numerical propagator including atmospheric friction and an 18th-order tesseral model shows 4 s of difference in the time of flyover. A second study considers a constellation of 24 satellites that can maneuver into repeating ground track orbits to provide persistent coverage of a region. A set of maneuvers for all satellites is generated for four sequential targets, allowing the most suitable maneuver strategy to be selected. Improvements in coverage of greater than 10 times are possible as compared to a static constellation using 35% of the propellant available across the constellation.

AB - A general perturbation solution to a restricted low-thrust Lambert rendezvous problem, considering circular-to-circular in-plane maneuvers using tangential thrust and including a coast arc, is developed. This provides a fully analytical solution to the satellite reconnaissance problem. The solution requires no iteration. Its speed and simplicity allow problems involving numerous spacecraft and maneuvers to be studied; this is demonstrated through two case studies. In the first, a range of maneuvers providing a rapid flyover of Los Angeles is generated, giving an insight to the trade space and allowing the maneuver that best fulfills the mission to be selected. A reduction in flyover time from 13.8 to 1.6 days is possible using a less than 17 m∕s velocity change. A comparison with a numerical propagator including atmospheric friction and an 18th-order tesseral model shows 4 s of difference in the time of flyover. A second study considers a constellation of 24 satellites that can maneuver into repeating ground track orbits to provide persistent coverage of a region. A set of maneuvers for all satellites is generated for four sequential targets, allowing the most suitable maneuver strategy to be selected. Improvements in coverage of greater than 10 times are possible as compared to a static constellation using 35% of the propellant available across the constellation.

KW - low Earth orbit

KW - Earth observation

KW - satellite reconnaissance

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