Self-organising low Earth orbit constellations for Earth observation

Garrie Mushet, Colin McInnes

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This paper presents a novel method of manipulating the spatial pattern of a fractionated micro-satellite constellation in Low Earth Orbit. The method developed allows satellites to manipulate the longitudinal position of their ground-tracks over the Earth’s surface, such that they pass over specified targets. This is achieved firstly by pairing satellites on the constellation to the targets on the Earth’s surface, and then by developing an artificial potential field controller to define the thrust commands which move the satellites into the appropriate orbital slots to converge upon their targets. The latter is achieved using Coupled Selection Equations - a dynamical systems approach to combinatorial optimisation.
Original languageEnglish
PagesPaper IAA-AAS-DyCoSS2-14 -01-03
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2014
Event2nd Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems, DyCoSS2 - Rome, Italy
Duration: 24 Mar 201426 Mar 2014


Conference2nd Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems, DyCoSS2


  • Earth orbit
  • Earth observation
  • satellites

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