AAS 99-122

Exploiting Orbital dynamics for Aperture Synthesis using Distributed Satellite Systems

E. Kong, R. Sedwick, D. Miller

Space Systems Laboratory, MIT


Exploitation of new maneuvering algorithms as well as orbital dynamics opens up new opportunities for aperture synthesis using distributed satellite systems (DSS). This paper discusses three such designs as applied to aperture synthesis for visible surveillance systems placed at geosynchronous earth orbit. In all of these designs, free orbits are used to the extent possible in order to allow the satellites, to most completely yet efficiently sweep out the image plane (u-v coverage), to instantaneously provide full coverage, and to also maintain constellation orientation. Preliminary results indicate that formation flying strategies beyond simple station-keeping are viable for the this system, however, for a larger system, such strategies are not practical.