System engineering approach toward the problem of required level of in-orbit autonomous-operation of a LEO microsatellite mission
Hossein Bonyan Khamseh
Amirkabir university of technology (AUT)
Last modified: September 25, 2007
During the last few decades, identifying the required level of in-orbit autonomous-operation of satellite missions has always been a challenging system-engineering activity for the satellite-design community. Furthermore, required level of in-orbit autonomous-operation of microsatellites in Low Earth Orbits (LEOs) is of particular interest for the space-related communities, due to the ever-increasing interest in microsatellite missions, nature of the microsatellites and characteristics of LEOs. This paper, from a system-engineering point of view, comprehensively describes the general characteristics of highly-autonomous microsatellite missions versus those with low levels of autonomous-operation. Also, general characteristics of LEOs, which impose potential requirements and/or constraints on microsatellite projects, are studied. It has also been highlighted that identifying the required level of in-orbit autonomous-operation of a LEO microsatellite mission is an interdisciplinary activity influenced by various parameters such as mission profile, attitude control strategy, geographical distribution of ground stations, end-user requirements and etc. Finally, it has been concluded that identifying the required level of in-orbit autonomous-operation of such missions can only be done via a system-engineering approach, considering all the corresponding parameters discussed in this paper.