The pole-sitter mission concept: an overview of recent developments and possible future applications

Matteo Ceriotti, Colin McInnes, Benjamin Diedrich

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

7 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The paper provides a survey of novel mission concepts for continuous, hemispheric polar observation and direct-link polar telecommunications. It is well known that these services cannot be provided by traditional platforms: geostationary satellites do not cover high-latitude regions, while low- and medium-orbit Sun-synchronous spacecraft only cover a narrow swath of the Earth at each passage. Concepts that are proposed in the literature are described, including the pole-sitter concept (in which a spacecraft is stationary above the pole), spacecraft in artificial equilibrium points in the Sun-Earth system and non-Keplerian polar Molniya orbits. Additionally, novel displaced eight-shaped orbits at Lagrangian points are presented. For many of these concepts, a continuous acceleration is required and propulsion systems include solar electric propulsion, solar sail and a hybridisation of the two. Advantages and drawbacks of each mission concept are assessed, and a comparison in terms of high-latitude coverage and distance, spacecraft mass, payload and lifetime is presented. Finally, the paper will describe a number of potential applications enabled by these concepts, focusing on polar Earth observation and telecommunications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2011
Event62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 3 Oct 20117 Oct 2011

Conference

Conference62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Period3/10/117/10/11

Keywords

  • Earth observation
  • pole-sitter
  • high-latitude observation
  • telecommunications
  • space mission concepts

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The pole-sitter mission concept: an overview of recent developments and possible future applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Ceriotti, M., McInnes, C., & Diedrich, B. (2011). The pole-sitter mission concept: an overview of recent developments and possible future applications. Paper presented at 62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, Cape Town, South Africa.