Long Term Mean Local Time of the Ascending Node PredictionSignificant error has been observed in the long term prediction of the Mean Local Time of the Ascending Node on the Aqua spacecraft. This error of approximately 90 seconds over a two year prediction is a complication in planning and timing of maneuvers for all members of the Earth Observing System Afternoon Constellation, which use Aqua's MLTAN as the reference for their inclination maneuvers. It was determined that the source of the prediction error was the lack of a solid Earth tide model in the operational force models. The Love Model of the solid Earth tide potential was used to derive analytic corrections to the inclination and right ascension of the ascending node of Aqua's Sun-synchronous orbit. Additionally, it was determined that the resonance between the Sun and orbit plane of the Sun-synchronous orbit is the primary driver of this error. The analytic corrections have been added to the operational force models for the Aqua spacecraft reducing the two-year 90-second error to less than 7 seconds.
McKinley, David P. (AI Solutions, Inc. Lanham, MD, United States)
August 24, 2013
September 24, 2007
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics