Splinter - Electric Propulsion Orbit Raising Missions and Space Weather

D. Pitchford, R. Horne
Thursday 20th, 16:30 - 18:00

Electric propulsion has been used for geostationary spacecraft station keeping for around 15 years, in conjunction with traditional orbit raising techniques based on chemical propulsion. There is a recent trend towards the use of Low Thrust Electric Propulsion for large Telecommunications Satellite orbit raising. The main driver for this is economic: use of such technology provides a potential fuel saving of up to 90%, substantial reduction in the weight of the satellite and thus the associated launch costs. As a result of the use of Electric Propulsion Orbit Raising the duration of the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) of the spacecraft mission increases from ~10 days to >150 days, assuming a geosynchronous operational orbit. Such an Extended Orbit Raising LEOP results in satellites traversing the heart of the radiation belts during this extended period. This will necessitate a significantly different environment analysis with respect to the current standard for a GEO mission.

The purpose of this splinter is to bring together the Satellite Operator, Satellite Manufacturer and Scientific community in order to discuss the Space Weather / Space Environment issues that are important when designing and implementing a Electric Propulsion Orbit Raising Mission, radiation belt models and analysis toolkits - highlighting areas where uncertainty exists and model / tool improvements are required.
The splinter will consist of several invited talks and a period of open discussion, attendees are invited to contribute to the session on an informal basis and provide short presentations on the subject.

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