The flower constellations
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This paper defines a set of satellite constellations, called the Flower Constellation Set, that generalize the multi-stationary inclined orbits having repeatable ground tracks. With various satellite phasing schemes, Flower Constellations present many interesting features useful for telecommunication, deep space observation, global positioning systems, and formation flying. A Flower Constellation, which can be symmetric or asymmetric, is defined by six independent parameters: the number of petals (N p), the number of side-real days to repeat the ground track (N d), the number of satellites (N s), the argument of perigee (ω), the orbit critical inclination (i), and the perigee altitude (h p). Thus, in specific, we will refer to a particular constellation as a N p-N d-N s-ω-i-h p Flower Constellation but, in general, we will use simply a N p-N d Flower Constellation. It is shown that some of the proposed past satellite constellations, as for instance the 1967 Broglio's Sistema Quadrifoglio, are specific Flower Constellation cases. Some specific Flower Constellations are described and discussed in detail to demonstrate some potential applications.
author list (cited authors)
Mortari, D., Wilkins, M. P., & Bruccoleri, C.