Mission Planning for Formation-Flying Satellite Cluster

John L. Mohammed, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc., USA

The formation-flying satellite cluster is a new paradigm for space-based surveillance and remote sensing. In this paradigm, several small satellites fly in close formation and coordinate their activities so that through sparse-array interferometric and synthetic aperture techniques the cluster can effectively operate as though it were a much larger monolithic satellite. Management of such clusters will require increased automation for planning and scheduling, both in pre-flight mission planning and during operations. This paper describes work aimed at defining and meeting the special planning and scheduling requirements of the formation-flying cluster.

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