# Chapter 2. Mission Analysis. 2.1 Mission Geometry

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1 Chapter 2 Mission Analysis As noted in Chapter 1, orbital and attitude dynamics must be considered as coupled. That is to say, the orbital motion of a spacecraft affects the attitude motion, and the attitude motion affects the orbital motion. The attitude orbital coupling is not as significant as the orbital attitude coupling. This fact is traditionally used as motivation to treat the orbit as a given motion and then investigate the attitude motion for a given orbit. As long as the orbit is circular, the effects on attitude are reasonably straightforward to determine. If the orbit is elliptical, then the effects on the attitude dynamics are more complicated. In this chapter, I develop the basic geometric relationships necessary to investigate the effects of orbital motion on the spacecraft attitude or pointing requirements. The required topics in orbital dynamics are summarized in Appendix A, and some basic spherical geometry terms and relations are given in Appendix B. I begin by describing the geometric quantities necessary to define pointing and mapping requirements. This space mission geometry is useful for understanding how to visualize attitude motion, and for determining important quantities such as the direction from the spacecraft to the sun. After developing these concepts, I show how a variety of uncertainties lead to errors and how estimates of these errors influence spacecraft design. 2.1 Mission Geometry In the first approximation, an Earth-orbiting spacecraft follows an elliptical path about the Earth s mass center, and the Earth rotates about its polar axis. This approximation leads to a predictable motion of the satellite over the Earth, commonly illustrated by showing the satellite s ground track. Figure 2.1 shows the ground tracks for two satellites: (a) Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station, and satellite in a circular orbit with altitude 500 km, and inclination of 30, and (b) a satellite in an elliptical orbit with periapsis altitude of

2 2-2 CHAPTER 2. MISSION ANALYSIS 90 ISS (ZARYA) latitude longitude Figure 2.1: Ground Track for the International Space Station km, apoapsis altitude of about 24,000 km, an eccentricity of 0.63, and inclination of about 26. Similar plots can be created using Satellite Tool Kit or WinOrbit, which are available on the World Wide Web at and respectively Earth viewed from space At any instant in time, the point on a ground track is defined as the point of intersection between the surface of the Earth and the line connecting the Earth center and the satellite. This point is called the sub-satellite point (SSP). The spacecraft can see the sub-satellite point and the area around the SSP. This area is called the instantaneous access area (IAA), and is always less than half of the surface area of the Earth. Figures 2.3 and 2.4 illustrate the IAA and related parameters. Figure 2.3 shows the Earth and satellite orbit. The satellite s altitude is denoted by H, so that the distance from the center of the Earth to the satellite is R = R + H, where R is the radius of the Earth. Decisions about the attitude control system must be made based on the requirements of the spacecraft mission. As described in Chapter 1, ACS requirements generally arise from the need to point the payload or some other subsystem in a particular direction. For example, a communications satellite s antenna must point at its terrestrial counterpart. Similarly, a remote sensing satellite s instrument must point at its subject. More generally, solar panels must point at the sun, and thermal radiators must point away from the sun. Some sensitive optical instruments must avoid pointing near the sun, moon, or earth, as the light from these objects could damage the instruments. Additional requirements include the range of possible pointing

3 2.1. MISSION GEOMETRY B latitude longitude Figure 2.2: Ground Track for the Falcon Gold Satellite directions, pointing accuracy and stability, pointing knowledge accuracy, and slew rate. From orbital dynamics (Appendix A), we know how to follow a satellite in its orbit. That is, we can readily compute r(t) and v(t) for a given orbit. We can also compute the orbit ground track in a relatively straightforward manner. The following algorithm computes latitude and longitude of the sub-satellite point (SSP) as functions of time. Algorithm 2.1 Initialize orbital elements: a, e, i, ω, Ω, ν 0 Greenwich sidereal time at epoch: θ g0 period: P = 2π a 3 /µ number of steps: N time step: t = P/(N 1) for j = 0 to N 1 Compute Greenwich sidereal time: θ g = θ g0 + jω t position vector: r latitude: δ s = sin 1 (r 3 /r) longitude: L s = tan 1 (r 2 /r 1 ) θ g At any point in its orbit, the spacecraft can see a circular region around the subsatellite point. This region is known as the instantaneous access area (IAA). The IAA sweeps out a swath as the spacecraft moves in its orbit. Knowing how to determine

4 2-4 CHAPTER 2. MISSION ANALYSIS v Ground Track Swath Swath Width Width Orbit Figure 2.3: Earth Viewed by a Satellite the SSP, let us develop some useful concepts and algorithms for spacecraft looking at the Earth. The instantaneous access area is the area enclosed by the small circle on the sphere of the Earth, centered at the SSP and extending to the horizon as seen by the spacecraft. Two angles are evident in this geometry: the Earth central angle, λ 0, and the Earth angular radius, ρ. These are the two non-right angles of a right triangle whose vertices are the center of the Earth, the spacecraft, and the Earth horizon as seen by the spacecraft. Thus the two angles are related by ρ + λ 0 = 90 (2.1) From the geometry of the figure, these angles may be computed from the relation sin ρ = cos λ 0 = R R + H (2.2) We usually give common angles in degrees; however, most calculations involving angles require radians.

5 2.1. MISSION GEOMETRY 2-5 Target R D λ 0 λ ε SSP η H ρ Satellite Figure 2.4: Geometry of Earth-viewing where R is the radius of the Earth, and H is the altitude of the satellite. The IAA may be calculated as IAA = K A (1 cos λ 0 ) (2.3) where K A = 2π area in steradians K A = 20, area in deg 2 K A = area in km 2 K A = area in nmi 2 Generally, a spacecraft can point an instrument at any point within its IAA; however, near the horizon, a foreshortening takes place that distorts the view. The operational effects of this distortion are handled by introducing a minimum elevation angle, ε min that reduces the usable IAA. Figure 2.4 shows the relationship between elevation angle, ε, Earth central angle, λ, Earth angular radius, ρ, nadir angle, η, and range, D. These variables are useful for describing the geometry of pointing a spacecraft at a particular target. The target must be within the IAA, and the spacecraft elevation angle ε is measured up from the target location to the satellite. Thus if the target is on the horizon, then ε = 0, and if the target is at the SSP, then ε = 90 ; therefore ε is always between 0 and 90. The angle λ is the angle between the position vectors of the spacecraft and the target, so it can be computed using r s r t = r s r t cos λ (2.4) where r s is the position vector of the spacecraft and r t is the position vector of the target. Clearly r s = R + H, and r t = R, so cos λ = r s r t R (R + H) (2.5)

6 2-6 CHAPTER 2. MISSION ANALYSIS Since we already know the latitude, δ, and longitude, L of both the SSP and the target, we can simplify these expressions, using r s = (R + H) ( cos δ s cos L s Î + cos δ s sin L s Ĵ + sin δ s ˆK ) (2.6) r t = R ( cos δt cos L t Î + cos δ t sin L t Ĵ + sin δ t ˆK ) (2.7) Carrying out the dot product in Eq. (2.5), collecting terms, and simplifying, leads to cos λ = cos δ s cos δ t cos L + sin δ s sin δ t (2.8) where L = L s L t. Clearly λ must be between 0 and 90. Knowing λ, the nadir angle, η, can be found from tan η = sin ρ sin λ 1 sin ρ cos λ (2.9) Knowing η and λ, the elevation angle can be determined from the relationship Also, the range, D, to the target may be found using η + λ + ε = 90 (2.10) D = R sin λ sin η (2.11) 2.2 Summary of Earth Geometry Viewed From Space The following formulas are useful in dealing with Earth geometry as viewed by a spacecraft. In these formulas, the subsatellite point has longitude L s and latitude δ s, and the target point has longitude L t and latitude δ t. The notation δ t is used to denote the colatitude 90 δ t. The angular radius of the Earth is ρ, the radius of the Earth is R E, and the satellite altitude is H. The Earth central angle is λ, Az is the azimuth angle of the target relative to the subsatellite point, η is the nadir angle, and ε is the grazing angle or spacecraft elevation angle. This notation is used in Larson and Wertz s Space Mission Analysis and Design, 2nd edition, 1992, which is essentially the only reference for this material. sin ρ = R E /(R E + H) Spacecraft viewing angles (L s, δ s, L t, δ t ) (λ, Az, η) L = L s L t

7 2.3. ERROR BUDGET 2-7 cos λ = sin δ s sin δ t + cos δ s cos δ t cos L (λ < 180 ) cos Az = sin δ t cos λ sin δ s sin λ cos δ s sin ρ sin λ tan η = 1 sin ρ cos λ Earth coordinates (L s, δ s, Az, η) (λ, δ t, L) cos ε = sin η sin ρ λ = 90 η ε cos δ t = cos λ sin δ s + sin λ cos δ s cos Az (δ t < 180 ) cos L = cos λ sin δ s sin δ t cos δ s cos δ t The Instantaneous Access Area (IAA) is IAA = K A (1 cos λ 0 ) where K A = 2π area in steradians K A = 20, area in deg 2 K A = area in km 2 K A = area in nmi Error Budget The attitude or orientation of a spacecraft usually arises as either a pointing problem requiring control, or a mapping problem requiring attitude determination. Example pointing problems would be to control the spacecraft so that a particular instrument (camera, antenna, etc.) points at a particular location on the surface of the Earth or at a particular astronomical object of interest. Mapping problems arise when the accurate location of a point being observed is required. In practice, most spacecraft operations involve both pointing and mapping. For example, we may command the spacecraft to point at Blacksburg and take a series of pictures. Afterwards we may need to determine the actual location of a point in one of the pictures. In order to describe precisely the errors associated with pointing and mapping, we need to define some terms associated with the geometry of an Earth-pointing spacecraft. In this figure, the angle ɛ is the elevation, φ is the azimuth angle with respect to the orbital plane, η is the nadir angle, and λ is the Earth central angle. The distance from the center of the Earth to the satellite is R s, and to the target point is R T. We define the errors in position as I, C, and R s, where I is the intrack error, C is the cross-track error, and R s is the radial error. The instrument

9 BIBLIOGRAPHY 2-9 Table 2.2: Pointing and Mapping Error Formulas 2 Magnitude of Magnitude of Direction of Source Magnitude Mapping Error (km) Pointing Error (rad) Error Attitude Errors: Azimuth φ (rad) φd sin η φ sin η Azimuthal Nadir Angle η (rad) ηd/ sin ε η Toward nadir Position Errors: In-track I (km) I(R T /R S ) cos H ( I/D) sin Y I Parallel to ground track Cross-track C (km) C(R T /R S ) cos G ( C/D) sin Y C Perpendicular to ground track Radial R S (km) R S sin η/ sin ε ( R S /D) sin η Toward nadir Other Errors: Target altitude R T (km) R T / tan ε Toward nadir S/C Clock T (s) T V e cos lat T (V e /D) cos lat sin J Parallel to Earth s equator sin H = sin λ sin φ sin G = sin λ cos φ V e = 464 m/s (Earth rotation velocity at equator) cos Y I = cos φ sin η cos Y C = sin φ sin η cos J = cos φ E cos ε, where φ E = azimuth relative to East

10 2-10 BIBLIOGRAPHY [3] Charles D. Brown. Spacecraft Mission Design. AIAA, Reston, Virginia, second edition, [4] Dave Doody and George Stephan. Basics of Space Flight Learners Workbook. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Exercises 1. A satellite is in a circular Earth orbit with altitude 500 km. Determine the instantaneous coverage area if the minimum elevation angle is ɛ min = Derive Eqs. (2.9) and (2.11), and give a geometrical explanation for Eq. (2.10). 2.6 Problems 1. Make a ground track plot for a satellite with the following two-line element set: COSMOS U 94023A The following two-line element set (TLE) is for the International Space Station: ISS (ZARYA) U 98067A Detailed information about the TLE format can be found in the handout on the course webpage: Appendix A: Orbits. Another good source is on the web at which is where I got the information in the appendix, and where I obtained this TLE. For this assignment, you should ignore Earth oblateness effects, as well as the perturbation terms in the TLE (ṅ, n, and B ). (a) What are the date and the Eastern Standard Time of epoch? (b) What are the orbital elements of Zarya? (a, e, i, ω, Ω, and ν 0, with a in km, and angles in degrees) (c) What are the latitude and longitude of the sub-satellite point (SSP) at epoch? (d) What is the area, in km 2, of the instantaneous access area (IAA) at epoch? What fraction of the theoretical maximum IAA is this area?

11 2.6. PROBLEMS 2-11 (e) If the minimum elevation angle is ε min = 10, then what is the reduced IAA at epoch? (f) What are the latitude and longitude of the SSP the next time (after epoch) the station passes through apoapsis? 3. Programming Project. A useful MatLab function would compute the subsatellite point latitude and LST for a given set of orbital elements, not necessarily circular. A calling format could be [lat,lst] = oe2ssp(oe,dt) The argument dt represents a t from epoch and could be optional, and it should work if dt is a vector. If dt is omitted, then the function should return latitude and LST at epoch. If dt is a vector, then the returned values of lat and lon should be vectors of the same length. The function should also have an optional argument for specifying the gravitational parameter µ, so that the function can be used with different systems of units. How would you need to modify this function so that it provided latitude and longitude instead of latitude and LST? What if you wanted to use it for planning missions about other planets?

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