Design of a set of orbital platforms to raise and lower the orbit of nanosatellites efficiently without using propellant, as a major piece of infrastructure for a space-based nanosatellite economy.

Author: Juan José García Ortiz
University Carlos III Madrid (Spain)

Space activities and attainability are constrained nowadays due to the high cost of rocketry employed put payloads in orbit. This study aims to design, analyze and optimize a network of orbital relay stations that can act as orbital energy accumulators to support other space missions.

The sustainability of such network lies in a balance between payloads being orbited and deorbited.

To test the viability of the proposed network, simulated missions are implemented in a programming environment in a way that can reproduce numerically the behaviour of the network in missions of increasing complexity. The design optimization of such missions is then performed assisted with a built-in genetic algorithm.

The results gathered prove that the energetic balance can be achieved providing an operation with minimal degradation. Proper mission design and station orbit spacing are key in defining suitable design conditions that yield the best case performance and the genetic algorithm is applicable to reduce the losses in off-design operating conditions.