Operating satellites at altitudes in Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) has many advantages. However, due to the higher atmospheric density of this region, satellites encounter signiﬁcantly higher atmospheric drag. Depending on the mission, this may require a propulsive system to maintain the orbit which costs both fuel mass and volume. It is therefore desirable to reduce the drag in order to either reduce these costs or to extend the operational life. In this paper a series of viable aeroshell proﬁles are identiﬁed for satellites operating in VLEO using a Radial Basis Function-based surrogate model with data generated using both Panel Methods and Discrete Simulation Monte Carlo simulations. It was demonstrated that a maximum drag reduction of between 21% and 35% was achievable for the proﬁles when optimizing a bi-conic proﬁle for minimum drag based on Discreet Simulation Monte Carlo simulations with an energy accommodation coeﬃcient of 0.95. Accounting for the loss of internal volume and assuming the reduction in fuel mass results in an equally proportioned reduction in fuel system volume it was observed that only a 13% to 27% reduction was achieved.
- Shape Optimisation
- Surrogate Modelling