An analysis of a single-burn algorithm for low-earth orbit maintenance
Gardner, Paul A.
Ross, I. Michael
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With the requirement for a spacecraft to maintain an orbital altitude band, a simple energy balance algorithm has been developed using a combination of radial distance and spacecraft specific energy for fixed-vector thruster control. While each trajectory produces a unique band, initial attempts at producing a pre-specified band have been unsuccessful. It is theorized that a certain radial bandwidth would correspond to a specific set of control parameters, and that by creating maps of the relationship between the two for various spacecraft configurations a method of maintaining the pre-specified band could be found. This thesis studies variations in spacecraft configurations and finds dependence of orbital bandwidth on thrust-to-drag ratio and ballistic coefficient. Also, within certain ranges of control parameters, multiple trajectories produce equivalent radial bands. Analysis shows that all single- burn trajectories are characterized by similar efficiencies, and are less efficient than a Forced Keplerian Trajectory (FKT)
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