Optimal Station Keeping for Geostationary Satellites with Electric Propulsion Systems Under Eclipse Constraints

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In order to keep geostationary satellites within the prescribed boundaries to satisfy mission requirements, orbital station keeping manoeuvres are performed periodically to compensate natural perturbations on the satellites.

The propulsion systems currently used to modify the orbit are of chemical nature (usually, hydrazine) but new trends in spatial propulsion point towards the use of electric systems. The use of these systems introduces new problems such as the impossibility to perform manoeuvres at eclipse epochs.

A procedure is proposed here to analyze the implementation of optimal strategies in terms of electric energy consumption to satisfy the additional constraints imposed by the use of these kind of systems.