CubeSat Formations for Monitoring Hurricanes
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P. Chadalavada and A. Dutta, "CubeSat Formations for Monitoring Hurricanes," 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference (AERO), 2022, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.1109/AERO53065.2022.9843636.
Recent technological advancements have enabled distributed sensing of major weather events such as hurricanes using CubeSats. This paper proposes three novel formation flying concepts of operations to improve the hurricane forecast accuracy by filling the current observation gaps. The first concept leverages the use of non-Dopplerized precipitation radars, while the second concept envisions the use of Dopplerized precipitation radars in formation. Both formation designs enable the collection of simultaneous multi-frequency data, with different constituent CubeSats operating at different frequencies. The third formation concept leverages the use of non-Dopplerized precipitation radars, each operating at a different frequency, flying in formation with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in a multi-static configuration. The paper presents the concepts of operations for each formation and conducts mission analysis for relevant operational needs. Specifically, we determine the safe (no collision) and efficient relative orbits designed by considering J2 perturbations for the proposed formation designs. Furthermore, we conduct a performance comparison, focusing on formation initialization as well as formation-keeping cost.
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