Orbit design for future SpaceChip swarm missions

C. Colombo, C.R. McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


The effect of solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag on the orbital dynamics of satellites-on-a-chip (SpaceChips) is exploited to design long-lived orbits about the Earth. The orbit energy gain due to asymmetric solar radiation pressure, considering the Earth shadow, is used to balance the energy loss due to atmospheric drag. Future missions for a swarm of SpaceChips are proposed, where a number of small devices are released from a conventional spacecraft to perform spatially distributed measurements of the conditions in the ionosphere and exosphere. It is shown that the orbit lifetime can be extended and indeed selected through solar radiation pressure and the end-of-life re-entry of the swarm can be ensured, by exploiting atmospheric drag.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2010
Event61st Aeronautical Congress, IAC 2010 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 27 Sept 20101 Oct 2010


Conference61st Aeronautical Congress, IAC 2010
CityPrague, Czech Republic


  • satellites-on-a-chip
  • spacechips
  • extended orbit lifetime
  • solar radiation pressure
  • atmospheric drag


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