Aerospace Science & Intelligent Technology

Aerospace | Free Full-Text | Long-Term Orbit Prediction and Deorbit Disposal Investigation of MEO Navigation Satellites

With the increase in satellites in the medium Earth orbit (MEO) region, there should be a focus on orbit safety in the MEO region. A safe orbit disposal strategy is necessary to maintain the sustainability of the MEO region. This paper focuses on long-term evolution modeling, safety analysis of MEO objects, and different disposal techniques for end-of-life BDS-2 MEO satellites. On the one hand, a long-term numerical evolution model is established, and mean equinoctial elements are adopted to propagate a long-term orbit. Long-term evolution for the MEO region over 100 years is carried out, including the Galileo, BDS, GPS, and GLONASS constellations. The earliest orbit intersection time with other global navigation satellite system (GNSS) constellations is put forward. On the other hand, a dynamic model and an optimization model for disposal orbit are established, which minimize the eccentricity growth within 200 years and the fuel consumption for maneuvering to the disposal orbit. The bounds for the disposal region of BDS MEO satellites are also proposed, which consider the measurement and control error of BDS MEO satellites and the eccentricity bounds for end-of-life BDS MEO satellites. A genetic algorithm is adopted to optimize the orbital elements for end-of-life BDS MEO satellites. In addition, two disposal cases, namely, upraising and reducing the orbit, for end-of-life BDS MEO satellites are simulated. The long-term evolutions for the disposal of orbital elements within 200 years are implemented, and the fuel consumption is calculated. The results show that the current MEO region is relatively safe and that the eccentricity is the most important factor that influences the long-term evolution of safety analysis for BDS MEO disposal orbits. Upraising the orbit is safe for end-of-life BDS MEO satellites. This investigation provides the theoretical foundation for investigating the long-term evolutionary mechanisms of the MEO region and references disposal strategy analysis for decommissioned navigation satellites, and the spent upper stages for other GNSS constellations.

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