ORBS: FEMTOSAT SWARMS FOR SPACE SCIENCE APPLICATIONS

hornbeastdanishMechanics

Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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ORBS
:
FEMTOSAT SWARMS FOR SPACE SCIENCE APPLICATIONS


Robbie Robertson

Advisor: Dr. Gregory Earle

Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24060, USA


Abstract

A femtosatellite, or femtosat, is a satellite with a mass of less than 100 grams.
Solar
radiation pressure (SRP)
has a relatively significant influence on the orbits of these very small
satellites.
1

Groups, or swarms,
of orbiting

radiation pressure barometer spheres
(ORBS) could be
released with identical inertial and magnetic properties, but with different optical coatings to
isolate the effects of
SRP

on the
relative
motion of members of a given ORBS swarm. By
cleverly assigning

ORBS optical properties and implementing detailed

solar

radiation pressure
models, ORBS tracking data could be used to estimate important atmospheric and solar
quantities. First, detailed SRP modeling and orbit propagation tools
are

be
ing

developed to
mod
el the relative dynamics of
the members of an ORBS swarm
. Second, parameter estimation
techniques
are being

developed to
estimate atmospheric and solar parameters using ORBS
tracking data. When complete, this set of modeling t
ools will enable the simulatio
n
ORBS
science missions. These simulations
will
enable us to
assess the viability of ORBS swarms for
various missions.
The SRP

modeling
,
orbit propagation, and parameter estimation tools

have
been developed
individually
and applied successfully to other problems as
preliminary
step
s

to
modeling ORBS science missions.