The Flower Constellations visualization and analysis tool
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The Flower Constellations is a novel methodology to design satellite constellations characterized by compatible orbits with respect to an assigned given rotating reference frame. In this rotating reference frame all the satellites follow the same close-loop relative trajectory (repeated space tracks). A Flower Constellation is obtained by means of a suitable phasing mechanism that initially distribute the satellites in a subset of admissible positions. The interplay of the design parameters generates beautiful and intriguing axial-symmetric periodic dynamics. These dynamics allow us to explore a wide range of potential applications which include: telecommunications, deep space observation, global positioning systems, and allows us to quickly come up with highly complex satellite formations that no one even knew existed and, consequently, to propose new kind of space missions. These constellation schemes are dramatically innovative and could be hardly imagined, designed or explained without the aid of an ad-hoc visualization software. In this paper we describe the software we developed to design the Flower Constellations with its current features and future improvements. 2005 IEEE.