Design and Operations of Satellite Constellations for Complex Regional Coverage
Lee, Hang Woon
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Fueled by recent technological advancements in small and capable satellites, satellite constellations are now shaping the new era of space commercialization creating new forms of services that span from Earth observations to telecommunications and navigation. With the mission objectives becoming increasingly complex, a new paradigm in the design and operations of satellite constellations is necessary to make a system cheaper and more efficient. This dissertation presents a set of novel mathematical formulations and solution methods that lend themselves to various applications in the design and operations of satellite constellation systems. The second chapter establishes the Access-Pattern-Coverage (APC) decomposition model that relaxes the symmetry and homogeneity assumptions of the classical global-coverage constellation design methods. Based on the model, this dissertation formulates an integer linear programming (ILP) problem that designs an optimal constellation pattern for complex spatiotemporally-varying coverage requirements. The third chapter examines the problem of reconfiguring satellite constellations for efficient adaptive mission planning and presents a novel ILP formulation that combines constellation design and transfer problems that are otherwise considered independent and serial in the state-of-the-art. Furthermore, the third chapter proposes a Lagrangian relaxation-based heuristic method that exploits the assignment problem structure embedded in the integrated design-transfer model. The fourth chapter extends the third chapter by investigating the multi-stage satellite constellation reconfiguration problem and develops two heuristic sequential decision-making methods based on the concepts of myopic policy and the rolling horizon procedure. This dissertation presents several illustrative examples as proofs-of-concept to demonstrate the value of the proposed work.