Three dimensional geometry maintenance for formation flying on elliptic orbits


Saiki T. 1*, Natsume K. 2, Kawaguchi J. 3**

1. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, LTD, Japan
2. Mitsubishi Electric Co, Japan
3. Institude of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan, Tokyo Denki University, Japan



There has been impending interest in the formation flying with many satellites. Multiple satellite system enhances the missions' flexibility with less total mass and cost, and realizes some missions that were impossible with a single satellite. At the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS/JAXA), the plasma and magnetic field observation missions with several satellites is under investigation. The mission under consideration is designated as SCOPE. The observation area of the SCOPE mission is twenty or thirty earth radii away fr om the center of the earth wh ere the geomagnetic field has interaction with the energetic particles from the sun. Therefore its orbit becomes highly elliptic. This paper first discusses the design method for spontaneous maintaining the formation geometry on the elliptic orbits. In the observation aspect, the formation of plural satellites is requested to constitute a polygon that assures the high spatial resolution observation. This study next show the orbital design method for the SCOPE mission. The frozen property that maintains high spatial resolution near the apogee is found feasible for elliptic orbit. Numerical examples are presented with practical illustrations.

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