Accession Number:



Cost Effective Persistent Regional Surveillance with Reconfigurable Satellite Constellations

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Technical Paper]

Corporate Author:

MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Space-based persistent surveillance provides decision makers with information necessary to effectively respond to both natural and man-made crises. This paper investigates a reconfigurable constellation strategy that utilizes on-demand, maneuverable satellites to provide on-demand focused regional coverage with short revisit times at greatly decreased cost when compared to traditional static satellite constellations. A general framework is introduced to guide the design and optimization of reconfigurable satellite constellations specifically tailored to stakeholder objectives while considering requirement uncertainty. The framework consists of three elements a detailed simulation model to compute constellation performance and cost, Monte Carlo simulation, and a parallel multi-objective evolutionary algorithm developed from the xF-NSGA-II genetic algorithm. Additionally, a new persistence metric is developed to directly measure how well a design meets desired temporal and spatial sampling requirements and a decision model and optimal assignment process is developed to determine how to employ the option of reconfigurability to respond to specific regional events. 8 optimization runs were performed on a 1024 processor computing cluster to compare the cost-effectiveness of several constellation architectures over varied coverage requirements. Results show that reconfigurable constellations cost 20 to 70 less than similarly performing static constellations for the scenarios studied, and this cost savings grows with increasingly demanding coverage requirements

Subject Categories:

  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Military Intelligence

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]