Satellite constellation design for telecommunication in Antarctica
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Copyright 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This paper addresses the problem of designing a small satellite constellation suitable for communications in Antarctica. This study has been motivated by the increasing international interests in having permanent bases in Antarctica to perform experiments in physics, atmospheric sciences, geology, and biology to name a few key areas. The existing and planned scientific expeditions in Antarctica require continuous and reliable communication services, especially during emergencies. Geostationary Earth orbit satellites do not cover this high latitude adequately, and constellations using circular orbits would require too many satellites to provide continuous regional coverage, thus increasing cost prohibitively. A three-satellite constellation using elliptical orbits is proposed to address this issue. The critical inclination has been selected to predominantly keep the satellites over Antarctica, where the satellites will dwell most of the time. This configuration has been obtained by using the two-dimensional lattice flower constellation design theory: a minimum parameter design methodology that enforces all three satellites in the same trajectory as seen from the Earth rotating frame. This aspect provides the continuous coverage necessary for reliable communications using only a small number of satellites. Copyright 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.