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Small Satellite Swarm Theory for Sparse Aperture Radar Applications

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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In the next few years, the Space Systems Academic Group SSAG and the Small Satellite Laboratory at the Naval Postgraduate School NPS may begin work on a small satellite swarm constellation. This thesis introduces flight operations concepts for small satellite formations conducting sparse aperture radar missions to inform decision makers at NPS of possible flight operations options. An orbital modeling program called Systems Tool Kit was used to simulate combinations of flight patterns and orbits, including a pendulum and a helix inline hybrid model, and a cartwheel hybrid model. The MATLAB software package was used to plot the simulated orbits, calculating the flight formation stability, and for calculating the relative effects of sensor separation on the system resolution. Findings include a stable dispersion pattern for the satellites to conduct their mission and an ability to maintain safe, collision-free flight operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Unmanned Spacecraft

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