Orbit design for future SpaceChip swarm missions in a planetary atmosphere

Camilla Colombo, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effect of solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag on the orbital dynamics of satellites-on-a-chip (SpaceChips) is exploited to design equatorial long-lived orbits about the oblate Earth. The orbit energy gain due to asymmetric solar radiation pressure, considering the Earth's 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.
LanguageEnglish
Pages25-41
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume75
Early online date18 Feb 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Fingerprint

planetary atmosphere
planetary atmospheres
radiation pressure
solar radiation
Solar radiation
drag
Drag
Orbits
orbits
pressure drag
Earth (planet)
exosphere
reentry
Ionosphere
Reentry
ionospheres
energy
Spacecraft
ionosphere
Energy dissipation

Keywords

  • solar radiation pressure
  • atmospheric drag
  • J2
  • Earth’s oblateness
  • equilibrium orbit
  • swarm
  • MEMS
  • SpaceChip

Cite this

Colombo, Camilla ; McInnes, Colin. / Orbit design for future SpaceChip swarm missions in a planetary atmosphere. In: Acta Astronautica. 2012 ; Vol. 75. pp. 25-41.
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Orbit design for future SpaceChip swarm missions in a planetary atmosphere. / Colombo, Camilla; McInnes, Colin.

In: Acta Astronautica, Vol. 75, 06.2012, p. 25-41.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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