Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in the development of low earth orbit (LEO) microsatellite constellations for commercial, strategic, and scientific purposes. High costs present a major obstacle to the development of such constellations; launch costs, in particular, may represent as much as 40% of the life-cycle cost. Deployment of satellites into different orbital planes generally requires separate launch vehicles, so several smaller launches are required for a single constellation. We propose to reduce costs by using a single large launch vehicle to carry an entire fleet of microsatellites to the Earth-Moon L1 Lagrange point. By taking advantage of the complex dynamical behavior at this location, the microsatellites can be returned to multiple Earth orbital planes via aerocapture, using minimal δV. This paper presents a proof of concept and feasibility assessment of such a system, demonstrating 38% cost savings for a baseline mission.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Article number||AAS 04-248|
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Advances in the Astronautical Sciences|
|State||Published - Aug 26 2005|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering