What is the working concept for dispersal of a constellation of cubesats launched together?
I understand that for the Flock satellites to be useful in providing frequent Earth observation revisit opportunities that they should all be in different orbits, whether spaced out within the same plane or in different planes altogether. EDIT: This spacing appears to me to be crucial to their business objectives, especially given the short orbital lifetimes.
The two working examples I'm aware of are:
- Flock 1C deployment of 11 satellites from a Dnepr in June 2014
- all other Flock deployments which I understand have been from the ISS
As there is no propulsion I can't see why all the released satellites won't simply accompany the dispenser (i.e. Dnepr upper stage or ISS) around in very slowly expanding cloud.
1) Is a substantial delta-V imparted by the dispenser release? (EDIT: 2m/s, thanks to the answer from PearsonArtPhoto)
2) How is deployment managed (within one launch batch) in terms of release timing so as to achieve satellite spacing? EDIT: What outcome in terms of orbital spacing was actually targeted and achieved, and by what means - is the dispenser's angle adjusted on the ISS or is the main control achieved by release at different times?
EDIT: Background: I've been looking at Flock TLEs. There has been some dispersion though they are still largely grouped according to their delivery to the ISS. Having an idea of the deployment strategy as per this question is simply a piece of the puzzle.