Cluster-Keeping with Differential Drag and SRP for Elliptic Orbits

Evgeney Koretsky
Work towards MSc degree under supervision of Assoc. Prof. Pini Gurfil
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Solar radiation pressure (SRP) is a caused by photons transferring their momentum to the satellite. The magnitudes of atmospheric drag and SRP are similar for spacecraft in circular orbits at altitudes of about 700 km. SRP tends to increase the eccentricity of the orbit, while atmospheric drag tends to decrease it.  In the present research, feedback control laws aimed at keeping a cluster of satellites within bounded distances are derived. Differential accelerations are obtained based on cross section area manipulation with respect to the drag and SRP directions. By the derivation of a semianalytical solution for the orbital dynamics that includes SRP and drag, we present several improvements to existing cluster keeping control laws.  The feedback is based on mean semimajor axis, eccentricity and inclination, which are obtained from the Brouwer transformation. Simulations show that the combination of differential drag and differential SRP can maintain a cluster of satellites within bounded distances on highly elliptic orbits, such as geostationary transfer orbits, and on circular low Earth orbits.

The talk will be given in English

Wed, 24-01-2018, 16:30 (Gathering at 16:00)

Classroom 165, ground floor, Library, Aerospace Eng.

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture


Cluster-Keeping with Differential Drag and SRP for Elliptic Orbits