Novel mission concepts for polar coverage: an overview of recent developments and possible future applications

Ceriotti, M. , Diedrich, B.L. and McInnes, C.R. (2012) Novel mission concepts for polar coverage: an overview of recent developments and possible future applications. Acta Astronautica, 80, pp. 89-104. (doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.043)

Ceriotti, M. , Diedrich, B.L. and McInnes, C.R. (2012) Novel mission concepts for polar coverage: an overview of recent developments and possible future applications. Acta Astronautica, 80, pp. 89-104. (doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.04.043)

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Abstract

The paper provides a survey of novel mission concepts for continuous, hemispheric polar observation and direct-link polar telecommunications. It is well known that these services cannot be provided by traditional platforms: geostationary satellites do not cover high-latitude regions, while low- and medium-orbit Sun-synchronous spacecraft only cover a narrow swath of the Earth at each passage. Concepts that are proposed in the literature are described, including the pole-sitter concept (in which a spacecraft is stationary above the pole), spacecraft in artificial equilibrium points in the Sun–Earth system and non-Keplerian polar Molniya orbits. Additionally, novel displaced eight-shaped orbits at Lagrangian points are presented. For many of these concepts, a continuous acceleration is required and propulsion systems include solar electric propulsion, solar sail and a hybridisation of the two. Advantages and drawbacks of each mission concept are assessed, and a comparison in terms of high-latitude coverage and distance, spacecraft mass, payload and lifetime is presented. Finally, the paper will describe a number of potential applications enabled by these concepts, focusing on polar Earth observation and telecommunications.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ceriotti, Dr Matteo and McInnes, Professor Colin
Authors: Ceriotti, M., Diedrich, B.L., and McInnes, C.R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Acta Astronautica
ISSN:0094-5765
Published Online:27 June 2012
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Acta Astronautica 80:89-104
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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