Fuel efficient control strategy for constellation orbital deployment

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Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, ISSN: 0002-2667, Vol: 88, Issue: 1, Page: 159-167

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Hongwei Yang; Yu Jiang; Hexi Baoyin
article description
Purpose - This paper aims to provide a new method to design a fuel efficient control strategy such as Jperturbation for deploying a constellation into a specified configuration. The nonspherical perturbation, mainly Jperturbation, is the dominant perturbation for low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites of a constellation. This perturbation can be utilized in the control strategy to lower fuel consumption enormously. Design/methodology/approach - The relationship of the coupled variables, the relative right ascension of ascending node (RAAN) and the relative phase (RP), are analyzed. First-order approximation expressions of the relative RAAN (RRAAN) and the relative phase (RP) with respect to the semimajor axis are derived. According to the Gauss' variational equations, the reduced explicit functions of these variables in regard to each active control are established. Based on these functions, control strategy design methods, including the preliminary planning and iterative corrections, are proposed. The numerical simulation is carried out to verify the proposed method. Findings - The results indicate that the constellation can be deployed accurately about the semimajor axis, the RRAAN and the relative phase (RP) by the developed fuel efficient control strategy. Research limitations/implications - The proposed control strategy is limited for the orbital altitude where the Jperturbation is dominant. Practical implications - The proposed effective method is applicable for the engineers planning an orbital control strategy of deploying satellites of a constellation. Originality/value - The new control strategy can realize utilization of Jperturbation and an accurate deployment, simultaneously. Further, this paper provides practical help for satellite engineers.