Criteria for best configuration and sub-optimal reconfiguration for MMS mission Conference Paper uri icon


  • The magnetospheric multiscale (MMS) mission requires a highly eccentric reference orbit and a tetrahedron formation configuration of at least four satellites in order to obtain multipoint measurements for the magnetosphere of the Earth. Reference orbits from near equatorial to polar and with apogees ranging from 12 □ 120 R e will be employed. In each of the phases, the formation must form a tetrahedron at apogee and different sized tetrahedrons will be employed in each phase. Differential orbital elements are used to establish various tetrahedron formations that satisfy the requirements. To select the best configuration, various metrics such as quality, interest, drift, risk, and fuel factors are used. The various formations are analyzed using an analytic solution given by a state transition matrix of the relative motion that is valid for any eccentricity and includes the absolute and differential J 2 effects. This solution, previously developed by the authors, is called the Geometric Method. The validity of this method for this problem is established by comparing with the results from numerical integration. The formation reconfigurations are achieved by sub-optimal two-impulse orbit transfers using the state transition matrix from the Geometric Method. Copyright © 2004 by The American Astronautical Society.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gim, D. W., & Alfriend, K. T.

publication date

  • August 2005