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Questions tagged [station-keeping]

Operations done to keep a spacecraft in a particular orbit. Generally done by by thruster burns. In LEO this must be done to counteract the momentum loss to atmospheric drag. In other orbits it may be needed to maintain a planned relative position over a long period of time.

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Could solar sails be used in station keeping?

Could solar sails work in place of solar vanes for passive stabilization in station keeping a satellite fixed in the Lagrange 2 point on a parallel orbit with the Moon? Related: What is the ...
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Could a ball of water stay in orbit?

Could a water bubble (spherical occlusion of water in air or vacuum) similar to the one in the picture below remain in Earth orbit without evaporating, dispersing, or disintegrating? Assume the orbit ...
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Tesseral Part of the Geopotential

I am working on the design of a constellation for academic purposes. I try to describe a phenomenon that appears in the simulations by means of analytic expression and I can't really find a good ...
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Why are 22N and 440N liquid engines quite common?

One can often spot that liquid apogee engines are 440 N and attitude control systems are 22 N. Is there a reason why the thrusts are proportional? If the engines are scaled for reducing development ...
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Do operating GPS satellites ever make orbital maneuvers for station-keeping?

Since GPS satellites need to face the Earth, they might execute momentum-unloading from time to time using pairs thrusters so as to produce torque but minimal change in the orbit, but I am guessing ...
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Why do GPS satellites have increasing eccentricity over time?

When comparing GPS, Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, and potentially other GNSS, we can see that the eccentricities of GPS spacecraft are increasing with time (i.e. apogees increasing and perigees decreasing)...
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Why is the US building a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G)?

An excerpt taken from the Wikipedia page on LOP-G says space-experts have criticized it: The Deep Space Gateway has received criticisms [...] for lacking a proper scientific goal. Former ...
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How to calculate thruster force calculation during maneuvers

I'm working in a satellite operator company, operating a GEO cubic shaped satellite, with 16 chemical thrusters and 3 reaction wheel for attitude control maneuvering. We have vendor provided flight ...
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Zero propellant thrusters

Is it possible to create thrusters for station keeping that require no fuel? Are there ideas similar to solar sails which can help in station- keeping and make use of a natural phenomenon? Except the ...
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How to calculate the change in inclination due to perturbations?

I would like to know the how much the inclination for a generic elliptical orbit changes over an unspecified period. The variation of inclination fluctuates as per a thread listed at the bottom. I'd ...
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Budgeting delta-v for atmospheric drag when orbit is elliptical?

I'm trying to calculate the delta-V budget to maintain a generic elliptical orbit. Looking at the atmospheric drag losses I can only find equations that calculate delta-V loss for circular orbits. ...
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Centrifugal Space Station design

If a Space Station designed around centrifugal forces being essential for gravity was to be constructed similar to the fans of a helicopter blade like the image below, how would it differ from a ...
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Satellite altitude variances in orbit

I understand that all satellites must have burn corrections to keep their orbits where they are needed. However my question is specifically about what those changes are in magnitude from the desired ...
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Xenon vs Hydrazine, “Should I Stay or Should I go?” Dawn mission decisions

edit 2: There seems to have been some announcement/extension by NASA (20-Oct-2017), possibly this will shed more light on the issues in this question. edit 1: Several months have passed since this ...
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Moon orbit station-keeping delta-V budget

I am looking for examples of station-keeping delta-V budgets from lunar orbiters to verify the results of an orbital-perturbations programm that I wrote for my master thesis. Any indication on where ...
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Will the ISS have electric propulsion to maintain altitude? Is there enough power for it?

In April 2014 this comment was made below the question What propulsion methods does the ISS use for station-keeping?: In November they said in three years, so perhaps late 2016. Since such claims ...
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extreme longevity of geostationary orbits

I was speculating that geostationary satellites could be around possibly for billions of years (i.e. much beyond the point where plate tectonics would have erased all traces of human civilization on ...
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What factors would make station-keeping of an Areostationary Mars satellite necessary?

This answer introduced me to the word Areostationary Orbit - (hint, comes from Ares), an orbit that would remain stationary above a point on the equator of Mars. The article mentions that ...
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How can just making the ground broadcast stronger neutralize a zombie(sat)?

In April of 2010 the Geo-not-so-stationary satellite Galaxy-15 stopped responding to ground commands. It operates as a "bent-pipe" or Transponder system, which means - roughly speaking - it will ...
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Is this what station keeping maneuvers look like, or just glitches in data? (SOHO via Horizons)

I've been enjoying the JPL Horizons web interface and after I discovered the incredibly extensive database associated with SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, also see sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov) ...
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How do launch and stationkeeping fuel costs vary with altitude?

I'm not a physicist or an engineer, so my apologies if I messed up any technical details. I've looked through the SE and found a few questions that touch on this issue (this one gets at the benefits ...
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How did DSCOVR use its ten thrusters for the long burn maneuvers MCC and LOI?

From this answer to my previous DSCOVR question, and this and this and this article, it seems that DSCOVR used one or more of its ten thrusters for the long burns for mid course correction (MCC) and ...
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What is the Distinction between DSCOVR's “engines” and “thrusters”?

I am reading this article about DSCOVR which links (ref 16) to this: DSCOVR: Mission Success for Moog Engines Over a Decade Later , about the recertification by MOOG of the MONARC 5N monopropellant ...
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How much “wobble” does a typical geostationary satellite experience?

Recall that geostationary satellites are placed into an orbit which is designed to stay above a fixed point on the Earth's surface. If the Earth and the satellite were both spherical cows in an ...
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Halo vs Lissajous orbit: Which station-keeping strategy to select and when?

I'm looking for a comprehensive pros and cons of the two most commonly used station-keeping types of orbits used at libration points, Lissajous and halo orbits. When would one select one over the ...
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What kind of thrusters will the James Webb Space Telescope use for station keeping?

Question is fairly self-explanatory, but I couldn't find an answer on Google. I would expect ion thrusters because of their efficiency. Thanks!
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Are there any man-made satellites at Lagrangian points?

There are 5 lagrangian points. Are there any man-made satellites at any of those points? Is there a reason for the presence or absence of satellites at these points?
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Do we sufficiently understand mechanics of Lagrange point stationkeeping for EML2 rendezvous and assembly?

I've been watching some recorded videos from the April 22 - 24, 2014 Humans2Mars conference (videos and live streams, when available, are on the National Institute of Aerospace channel on Livestream), ...
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What propulsion methods does the ISS use for station-keeping?

The International Space Station is constantly losing orbital energy due to atmospheric drag. How does station-keeping work for the ISS? What sort of propulsion system is used to keep it in the desired ...
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Why does NASA intentionally spin space probes?

In several NASA animations of missions, I've noticed that the spacecraft is rotating while traveling in deep space. This was true of Curiosity when that video came out. Now the Juno mission ...
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Are there propellant-less ways to balance at an unstable orbital point?

A station situated somewhere like EML-2 is really at an unstable point. I've heard of crafts using rocket firing to maintain that position in response to small deviations. Could you do this without ...
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Can solar sail prevent orbital decay?

I can imagine a satellite with a solar sail it rolls when on the night side of Earth, then unrolls near "afternoon", propelled on each past of its "sunset side" of travel. Would such system be a ...
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Are there any proposals to vacuum up gases in orbit for use as propellant?

Space stations like the ISS orbit at an elevation that puts them squarely in the Thermosphere, and while this has extremely rarefied gas (which is probably more accurately a plasma at many times), it ...