Checking Wikipedia, I see that there are a number of Earth-imaging constellations of 5+ satellites, with Planet Labs' and Spire Global's being the largest with 80+ satellites.
What is the usual approach for scheduling the operations for such constellations?
I suppose that they must:
- consider multiple satellites
- follow an heuristic approach that is probably less random than a genetic algorithm
- consider both the instruments operations and the communications with ground stations
- consider the availability schedule of ground stations
- consider exchange of data between satellites
- produce fast results if a new scheduling is needed, or allow for dynamically introducing new operations
So although the operations may be simpler than navigation or communication constellations, it still seems very complex and computationally-demanding.
Is there a general approach that is commonly used?