Rock-Around Orbits Academic Article uri icon


  • A new class of orbits, called rock-around orbits, which are compatible to an assigned target orbit, is presented. These orbits allow the design of systems whose purpose is to explore and/or observe the space around an assigned target orbit. The proposed orbit design guarantees that, within a given repetition time, the whole space around the target orbit is observed under a prescribed maximum observation distance constraint. Potential applications can be civilian, to design orbits for mapping and monitoring systems, as well as military, to design orbits for space-based surveillance systems. This study shows how to design rock-around orbits for circular and elliptical target orbits, how to evaluate the observation efficiency, and how to estimate the orbit maintenance costs. Copyright 2010 by Daniele Mortari.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bourgeois, S. K., & Mortari, D.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Bourgeois, Scott K||Mortari, Daniele

publication date

  • May 2011