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A Preliminary Formation Flying Orbit Dynamics Analysis for Leonardo-BRDFLeonardo-BRDF is a NASA mission concept proposed to allow the investigation of radiative transfer and its effect on the Earth's climate and atmospheric phenomenon. Enabled by the recent developments in small-satellite and formation flying technology, the mission is envisioned to be composed of an array of spacecraft in carefully designed orbits. The different perspectives provided by a distributed array of spacecraft offer a unique advantage to study the Earth's albedo. This paper presents the orbit dynamics analysis performed in the context of the Leonardo-BRDF science requirements. First, the albedo integral is investigated and the effect of viewing geometry on science return is studied. The method used in this paper, based on Gauss quadrature, provides the optimal formation geometry to ensure that the value of the integral is accurately approximated. An orbit design approach is presented to achieve specific relative orbit geometries while simultaneously satisfying orbit dynamics constraints to reduce formation-keeping fuel expenditure. The relative geometry afforded by the design is discussed in terms of mission requirements. An optimal two-burn initialization scheme is presented with the required delta-V to distribute all spacecraft from a common parking orbit into their appropriate orbits in the formation. Finally, formation-keeping strategies are developed and the associated delta-V's are calculated to maintain the formation in the presence of perturbations.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hughes, Steven P. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Mailhe, Laurie M. (AI Solutions, Inc. Lanham, MD United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: 2001 Flight Mechanics Symposium
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20010084958Analytic Primary2001 Flight Mechanics Symposium