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Proceedings Paper

Lessons learned from the 705-km fleet
Author(s): Mark A Vincent
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Paper Abstract

The scientific benefits generated from the synergy of the satellites in the AM and PM (A-Train) Constellations are unprecedented. Constellation Flying in this context refers to each satellite flying independently in their own control box with acceptable minimum buffers ensuring that the control boxes do not intersect each other. Recently it is has been realized that rather than two separate constellations, they should be considered as one entity called the “705-km Fleet” named for their common nominal altitude over the equator. This realization partly comes from the recent events with the USGS satellite Landsat-5 which is in the AM Constellation, but for a period of time was overlapping with the A-Train. A fundamental concept is the Triad consisting of Alongtrack Phasing, Groundtrack and Mean Local Time of Ascending Node. Another related lesson learned is that to maintain the buffers, phasing at the two intersection points where each pair of orbits cross near the poles should be considered, as opposed to the relative phasing of the times they cross the equator. These types of geometric considerations are presented after presenting an introduction and history of the constellations. Other topics include: reference ground tracks, the process of handling the growing concern of conjunctions with other orbiting bodies, CloudSat and CALIPSO satellites performing Formation Flying, and the general ascent and exit methods for satellites entering/leaving a constellation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 October 2012
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8516, Remote Sensing System Engineering IV, 851608 (23 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.940771
Show Author Affiliations
Mark A Vincent, Raytheon Intelligence & Information Systems (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8516:
Remote Sensing System Engineering IV
Philip E. Ardanuy; Jeffery J. Puschell, Editor(s)

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