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SIMBOL-X: A Formation Flying Mission on HEO for Exploring the UniverseSIMBOL-X is a high energy new generation telescope covering by a single instrument a continuous energy range starting at classical X-rays and extending to hard X-rays, i.e. from 0.5 to 80 keV. It is using in this field a focalizing payload which until now was used for energy below 10 keV only, via the construction of a telescope distributed on two satellites flying in formation. SIMBOL-X permits a gain of two orders of magnitude in sensibility and spatial resolution in comparison to state of the art hard X-rays instruments. The mirror satellite will be in free flight on a high elliptical orbit and will target the object to observe very precisely, thus focusing the hard X-ray emission thanks to this mirror module. At the focal point area which is situated 20 meters behind the mirror satellite, the detector satellite maintains its position on a forced orbit thanks to a radio link with the mirror satellite and a lateral displacement sensor using a beam emitted onboard the mirror satellite. This configuration is said "formation flying". The location of the detector satellite shall be very finely tuned as it carries the focal plane of this distributed telescope. To provide science measurements, the Simbol-X orbit has been chosen High elliptic (HEO), which means elliptical orbit with a high perigee altitude. Preliminary studies where made with an orbit with an altitude of the perigee of 44000km and altitude of the apogee of 253000km. The orbit was seven days ground track repeated in order to maintain a perigee pass over the Malindi ground station to download scientific telemetry. But as studies went on, difficulties in mass budget, link budget, perigee maintenance and formation flying maintenance were raised. This was mainly due to the vicinity of the Moon and its disturbing effect on the satellites orbits. Alternative orbits have been proposed in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the mission. The problematic of bringing the two satellites from their injection orbit to their operational orbit 20 m apart from each other and then maintain this configuration is very challenging. It requires theoretical development of the relative motion between two satellites in high eccentric orbit with large differential disturbance on the two bodies. This paper will present the mission analysis for the Simbol-X satellites with the complex problematic of doing formation flying in high elliptic orbit.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gamet, Philippe
(Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse, France)
Epenoy, R.
(Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse, France)
Salcedo, C.
(Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse, France)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
September 24, 2007
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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