Collocation of Geostationary Satellites Using Convex Optimization

Ferdi De Bruijn, S. Theil, Daniel Choukroun, Eberhard Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A method is developed to determine station-keeping maneuvers for a fleet of satellites collocated in a geostationary slot. The method is enabled by a linear time-varying formulation of the satellite orbit dynamics in terms of nonsingular orbital elements. A leader–follower control hierarchy is used, such that the motion of the follower satellites is controlled relative to the leader. Key objectives of the station-keeping method are to minimize propellant consumption and to limit the number of maneuvers while guaranteeing safe separation between the satellites. The method is applied in a realistic simulation scenario, including orbit determination, as well as actuation and modeling errors. The method is demonstrated to work for a fleet of four satellites with differences in mass, surface area, and propulsion system for a maneuver cycle of one week. It is then demonstrated that, by reducing the maneuver cycle duration to one day, the method allows collocation of 16 satellites in a single slot, without penalties on propellant consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1303-1313
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics: devoted to the technology of dynamics and control
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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