Status Report

Space Occupancy in Low-Earth Orbit

By SpaceRef Editor
December 18, 2020
Filed under , ,

Claudio Bombardelli, Gabriele Falco, Davide Amato, Aaron J. Rosengren

With the upcoming launch of large constellations of satellites in the low-Earth orbit (LEO) region it will become important to organize the physical space occupied by the different operating satellites in order to minimize critical conjunctions and avoid collisions. Here, we introduce the definition of space occupancy as the domain occupied by an individual satellite as it moves along its nominal orbit under the effects of environmental perturbations throughout a given interval of time. After showing that space occupancy for the zonal problem is intimately linked to the concept of frozen orbits and proper eccentricity, we provide frozen-orbit initial conditions in osculating element space and obtain the frozen-orbit polar equation to describe the space occupancy region in closed analytical form. We then analyze the problem of minimizing space occupancy in a realistic model including tesseral harmonics, third-body perturbations, solar radiation pressure, and drag. The corresponding initial conditions, leading to what we call minimum space occupancy (MiSO) orbits, are obtained numerically for a set of representative configurations in LEO. The implications for the use of MiSO orbits to optimize the design of mega-constellations are discussed.

Comments: Submitted to The Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Dynamical Systems (math.DS)

Cite as: arXiv:2012.09240 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2012.09240v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Aaron Jay Rosengren 

[v1] Wed, 16 Dec 2020 20:11:03 UTC (681 KB)

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