Date of Award

6-2013

Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor

Kira J. Abercromby

Abstract

Low Earth orbit represents a valuable limited natural resource. Of particular interest are sun-synchronous orbits; it is estimated that approximately 44% of low Earth satellites are sun-synchronous. A previously developed sun-synchronous orbit slot architecture is considered. An in-depth analysis of the relative motion between satellites and their corresponding slots is performed. The long-term evolution of Earth's orbital environment is modeled by a set of coupled ordinary differential equations. A metric for quantifying the benefit, if any, of implementing a sun-synchronous architecture is developed. The results indicate that the proposed slot architecture would reduce the frequency of collisions between satellites in sun-synchronous orbits.

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