My question is aimed at understanding the how much Delta-V is needed for orbital maintenance in different orbits. Obviously, there still is some residual air resistance that decreases as the orbital altitude increases. How should the delta-V needed for station-keeping and orbital maintenance be estimated? Is there a formula that is often used or a rule of thumb?


1 Answer 1


Good question, I’m also interested if someone has a more specific answer to share!

On the following table, you can find the required delta-v per year for different orbits.

delta-v stationkeeping

And about formula, I'm not sure but maybe this page can give you an idea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! As currently written, this is a link-only answer, which is discouraged on StackExchange. It requires readers to go to another site to get the answer, and it's quite likely that the target site will be changed, making the answer no longer available. Please edit the answer to put the relevant information here. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    May 29, 2019 at 20:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I got 1 m/s per year at 550 km for a small 3.5 x 0.2 meter cross-section and average solar activity using math, so that's roughly on par with the 5 m/s per year for an average spacecraft. It varies so much due to solar activity that ballpark figures are the best one can do without serious effort. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 30, 2019 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon Hello, thanks for your advices. I edited the answer but I did't find a good way to display mathematical formulas like MathJax on this site. $\endgroup$
    – Astrea
    May 30, 2019 at 12:47

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