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.
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Oct 2011|
|Event||62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011 - Cape Town, South Africa|
Duration: 3 Oct 2011 → 7 Oct 2011
|Conference||62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011|
|Period||3/10/11 → 7/10/11|
- Earth observation
- high-latitude observation
- space mission concepts
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.