Rapid On-Demand Launch Mission Planning for Timely Delivery of Spacecraft Constellations

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University of Alabama Libraries

On-demand launch from an airborne launch vehicle can provide a nanosatellite overhead in under an hour anywhere in the world. On-demand launch can support capabilities already on-orbit and provide tailored or new capabilities rapidly. A military rapid on-demand launch fulfills operational requirements for on-demand space support and reconstitution. Current capabilities in tracking and denial of space-assets limits the effectiveness of constellations already on-orbit to be operationally responsive in military space. Time-sensitive returns using scheduling algorithms for the timely deployment of a nanosatellite constellation can be achieved. Four case studies show the capability to provide persistent coverage of a moving target to provide terminal guidance to a net-enabled weapon, provide reconstitution of a PNT constellation, view persistence, and on-demand coverage of natural phenomena for disaster response. The three novel contributions of this work are creation of a mission planning system to deliver a constellation on-demand to observe a target from anywhere in the world using tactical airborne aircraft, combining existing vehicle models for aircraft, launch vehicle, satellite, and optimization tools to modify on-demand launch scheduling of a constellation for optimal coverage, and applying previously existing coverage quality measurements to measure replenishment and reconstitution value added by on-demand launch. A mission planning system for delivery of multiple satellites from multiple similar air-launched platforms for constellation installation over any selected point constrained for reaction time with optimized coverage quality is delivered.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
constellation design, launch schedule, optimization, rapid launch, satellite coverage