Is it possible to integrate Electric Propulsion thrusters on Very-Low Earth Orbit Microsatellites?

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This study explores the effects of drag on satellites operating in a Very-Low Earth Orbit and the feasibility of using Electric Propulsion to provide drag compensation to extend their operational life. Very-Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) describes the orbital altitudes below 250km and operating a remote sensing satellite in this region has several benefits. Due to increased air density at these low altitudes, a satellite would experience comparatively larger drag forces which would normally cause it to de-orbit within a few days. Drag calculations were performed on a satellite’s body for altitudes of 160km to 250km using the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo technique via the DS2V code. The orbit of the Satellite was simulated using NASA’s General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT) to calculate the required thrust levels for a Noon and Dawn-Dusk Sun-Synchronous orbit under both a continuous thrusting Regime and a daytime only thrusting regime.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
EventSpace Propulsion 2016 - Marriott Park Hotel, Rome, Italy
Duration: 2 May 20166 May 2016


ConferenceSpace Propulsion 2016
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