Flower Constellation of Orbiters for Martian Communication
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Flower Constellations are a particular set of satellite constellations where every satellite covers the same repeating space track. When the Flower Constellations are visualized on an Earth centered Earth fixed reference frame, the relative orbits show flower-shaped figures centered on the Earth. This innovative type of constellation presents features useful to be used in several applications, such as telecommunications, navigation, Earth science and interferometric radar. Several missions are foreseen to explore Mars in the next years to collect data in order to enhance our knowledge of the red planet. This effort requires the development of a reliable orbital infrastructure to support telecommunications with orbiters, landers and rovers. In this paper, a novel telecommunication architecture is presented, based on the previously introduced Flower Constellations. We designed an optimized Flower Constellation for the coverage of sites/regions of interest of the Mars surface. We proved that our proposed constellation provides better performance with respect to a reference constellation called 4retro 111 in terms of access duration and average gap time. 2007 IEEE.