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Formation Flying Mission Design: Maintenance and Reconfiguration Strategies

Giacomo Taini(1), Anna Notarantonio(1) and Leonardo Mazzini(1)

(1) Thales Alenia Space, via Saccomuro, 24, 00131, Italy


The proposed paper is devoted to the Formation Flying (FF) configuration design, maintenance and reconfiguration for Interferometric and Bistatic acquisitions for LEO satellites.

FF configurations design is based on variations of some orbital parameters of one or more satellites from the reference one. Several configurations have been analysed and selected in terms of the configuration stability including the main orbital perturbations in LEO mission: Earth gravity and atmospheric drag.

FF Maintenance and Reconfiguration manoeuvres have been performed for interferometric configurations using operational thrusters constraints and a strategy based on the simplify Gauss’ Equations. Reconfiguration manoeuvres from interferometric to bistatic configuration and vice versa have been analysed using the Earth gravity effect in order to reach high cross track components that are required for the payload instruments.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry