Four-Formation In-Track Configuration Maintenance StrategyThe aim of this paper is to present the analysis conducted by CNES for the maintenance of a formation made of several LEO satellites (typically 4) in several planes (typically 2), 100 km or so apart from each other. The along-track separations between the satellites have to be controlled to within 15 km thanks to orbit correction maneuvers supposed to be performed every 2 weeks. The main difficulty is related to solar activity which is expected to be close to its maximum for the entire mission s lifespan. As a matter of fact, a high solar activity makes orbit prediction harder, and makes it impossible to keep the altitude of the formation constant. Thus, a specific relative maintenance strategy had to be devised in order to meet the mission's requirements. The first part provides a few elements on the mission analysis process that has taken place. The method used for the evaluation of the maneuver frequency is detailed, based on the evaluation of the effects of atmospheric drag on the orbit. The second part is dedicated to the maintenance strategy that has been designed, and particularly to the computation of the reference orbits and of the velocity increments that enable the in-track inter-satellite distances to be maintained within the desired bounds. Finally a few simulation results are presented; they enable the performance of the maintenance strategy to be checked in a more realistic context.
Lamy, Alain (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse, France)
Costes, Thierry (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse, France)
August 24, 2013
September 24, 2007
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics