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Spacecraft Systems Engineering ebook

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This fourth edition of the bestselling Spacecraft SystemsEngineering title provides the reader with comprehensivecoverage of the design of spacecraft and the implementation ofspace missions, across a wide spectrum of space applications andspace science. The text has been thoroughly revised and updated,with each chapter authored by a recognized expert in thefield. Three chapters - Ground Segment, ProductAssurance and Spacecraft System Engineering - have beenrewritten, and the topic of Assembly, Integration and Verificationhas been introduced as a new chapter, filling a gap in previouseditions. This edition addresses 'front-end system-levelissues' such as environment, mission analysis and systemengineering, but also progresses to a detailed examination ofsubsystem elements which represents the core of spacecraftdesign. This includes mechanical, electrical and thermalaspects, as well as propulsion and control. This quantitativetreatment is supplemented by an emphasis on the interactionsbetween elements, which deeply influences the process of spacecraftdesign. Adopted on courses worldwide, Spacecraft SystemsEngineering is already widely respected by students,researchers and practising engineers in the space engineeringsector. It provides a valuable resource for practitioners in a widespectrum of disciplines, including system and subsystem engineers,spacecraft equipment designers, spacecraft operators, spacescientists and those involved in related sectors such as spaceinsurance. In summary, this is an outstanding resource for aerospaceengineering students, and all those involved in the technicalaspects of design and engineering in the space sector.

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Table of Contents

Title Page



List of Contributors



Preface to The Fourth Edition

Preface to The Third Edition

Preface to The Second Edition

Preface to The First Edition

List of Acronyms

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Payloads and Missions

1.2 A System View of Spacecraft

1.3 The Future


Chapter 2: The Spacecraft Environment and its Effect on Design

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Pre-Operational Spacecraft Environments

2.3 Operational Spacecraft Environments

2.4 Environmental Effects on Design



Chapter 3: Dynamics of Spacecraft

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Trajectory Dynamics

3.3 General Attitude Dynamics

3.4 Attitude Motion of Specific Types of Spacecraft

3.5 Oscillatory Modes

3.6 In Conclusion

Appendix: The Inertia Matrix

Chapter 4: Celestial Mechanics

4.1 Introduction

4.2 The Two-Body Problem—Particle Dynamics

4.3 Specifying the Orbit

4.4 Orbit Perturbations

4.5 Restricted Three-Body Problem


Chapter 5: Mission Analysis

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Keplerian Orbit Transfers

5.3 Mission Analysis

5.4 Polar LEO/Remote-Sensing Satellites

5.5 Satellite Constellations

5.6 Geostationary Earth Orbits (GEO)

5.7 Highly Elliptic Orbits

5.8 Interplanetary Missions



Chapter 6: Propulsion Systems

6.1 Systems Classification

6.2 Chemical Rockets

6.3 Spacecraft Propulsion

6.4 Electric Propulsion


Chapter 7: Launch Vehicles

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Basic Launch Vehicle Performance and Operation

7.3 Spacecraft Launch Phases and Mission Planning

7.4 The Ariane 5 Launch Vehicle

7.5 US Crewed Launch Systems

7.6 Small Launchers and Reusable Sub-Orbital Vehicles

7.7 Re-Entry into Earth's Atmosphere

7.8 Specific Launch Costs and Reliability


Chapter 8: Spacecraft Structures

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Design Requirements

8.3 Material Selection

8.4 Analysis

8.5 Design Verification

8.6 Impact Protection

8.7 Configuration Examples

8.8 The Future of Space Structures


Chapter 9: Attitude Control

9.1 Introduction

9.2 ACS Overview

9.3 The Spacecraft Attitude Response

9.4 Torques and Torquers

9.5 Attitude Measurement

9.6 ACS Computation


Chapter 10: Electrical Power Systems

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Power System Elements

10.3 Primary Power Systems

10.4 Secondary Power Systems: Batteries

10.5 Power Management, Distribution and Control

10.6 Power Budget


Chapter 11: Thermal Control of Spacecraft

11.1 Introduction

11.2 The Thermal Environment

11.3 Thermal Balance

11.4 Thermal Analysis

11.5 Thermal Design

11.6 Thermal Technology

11.7 Thermal Design Verification

11.8 Example of Satellite Thermal Design—XMM/Newton



Chapter 12: Telecommunications

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Techniques of Radio Communications

12.3 The Communications Payload

12.4 Conclusion



Chapter 13: Telemetry, Command, Data Handling and Processing

13.1 Introduction

13.2 System Architecture

13.3 Telemetry Data Formatting

13.4 Telecommand

13.5 Communication Techniques and Protocols

13.6 On-Board Data Handling (OBDH) and Processing

13.7 Technology

13.8 Tools and Controlling Documents



Chapter 14: Ground Segment

14.1 Introduction

14.2 The Ground Station

14.3 Flight Dynamics

14.4 The Ground Data System

14.5 The Flight Operations System




Relevant Internet Links

Chapter 15: Spacecraft Mechanisms

15.1 Introduction

15.2 One-Shot Devices

15.3 Continuously and Intermittently Operating Devices

15.4 Components

15.5 Materials

15.6 Tribology

15.7 Testing and Verification

15.8 Conclusion



Chapter 16: Spacecraft Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering

16.1 Introduction

16.2 Examples of EMC Problems

16.3 EMC Specifications

16.4 Electromagnetic Compatibility—Terms and Definitions

16.5 EMC Fundamentals

16.6 The Systems Approach to EMC

16.7 EMC Categories

16.8 Electrostatic Discharge

16.9 Spacecraft Grounding Schemes

16.10 Major Causes of Spacecraft EMC Problems

16.11 Analysis Methods for Spacecraft EMC Engineering


Chapter 17: Assembly, Integration and Verification

17.1 Introduction

17.2 Some Definitions

17.3 The Verification Plan

17.4 Relationship Between Analysis and Test

17.5 The AIV Plan

17.6 Testing: General

17.7 Test Types

17.8 Model Philosophy

17.9 Build Standards and Applications

17.10 Ground Support Equipment

17.11 Checkpoints in the AIV Programme

17.12 Verification Closeout

17.13 Launch Preparation

17.14 Conclusion


Chapter 18: Small Satellite Engineering and Applications

18.1 Introduction

18.2 Small Satellite Design Philosophy

18.3 Small Satellite System Design

18.4 Cots Components in the Space Environment

18.5 Microsatellite Platforms

18.6 Minisatellite Platforms

18.7 Nanosatellite Platforms

18.8 Affordable Launches for Small Satellites

18.9 In-Orbit Operations

18.10 Small Satellite Applications

18.11 Picosatellites and Recent Advances in Miniaturization

18.12 Conclusion



Chapter 19: Product Assurance

19.1 Introduction

19.2 Product Assurance in a Project

19.3 Reliability/Dependability

19.4 Parts

19.5 Materials and Processes

19.6 Product Assurance in Manufacturing, AI&V

19.7 Safety

19.8 Product Assurance in Operations

19.9 Software Product Assurance

19.10 PA in Technology Developments

19.11 The Assurance Message


Chapter 20: Spacecraft System Engineering

20.1 Introduction

20.2 System Engineering

20.3 Concurrent Engineering

20.4 A Case Study: Cryosat

20.5 Conclusion



This edition first published 2011

©2011, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

First Edition published in 1991, Second Edition published in 1995, Third Edition published in 2003

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Spacecraft systems engineering / edited by Peter Fortescue, Graham Swinerd, John Stark.—4th ed.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-0-470-75012-4 (hardback)

1. Space vehicles—Design and construction. 2. Astronautics—Systems engineering.

I. Fortescue, Peter W. II. Swinerd, Graham. III. Stark, John.

TL875.S68 2011



A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Print ISBN: 9780470750124

ePDF ISBN: 9781119971016

oBook ISBN: 9781119971009

ePub ISBN: 9781119978367

Mobi ISBN: 9781119978374

Dedicated to the memory of Nicky Skinner 1978–2011

List of Contributors


Peter W. Fortescue

Aeronautics and Astronautics, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK (retired)

Graham G. Swinerd

Aeronautics and Astronautics, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK

John P. W. Stark

School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary, University of London, UK


Guglielmo S. Aglietti

Aeronautics and Astronautics, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK

Massimo Bandecchi

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), European Space Agency, The Netherlands

Franck Chatel

German Space Operations Center (GSOC), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Graham E. Dorrington

School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

John B. Farrow

International Space University, Strasbourg, France

Nigel P. Fillery

EADS Astrium, Portsmouth, UK

C. Richard Francis

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), European Space Agency, The Netherlands

Geoffrey Hall

Moreton Hall Associates, Maidenhead, UK

John M. Houghton

EADS Astrium, Stevenage, UK

J. Barrie Moss

School of Engineering, Cranfield University, UK

Terry Ransome

EADS Astrium, Stevenage, UK

Ken M. Redford

British Aerospace, Bristol, UK

Chris J. Savage

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), European Space Agency, The Netherlands (retired)

Ray E. Sheriff

School of Engineering, Design and Technology, University of Bradford, UK

David Stanton

Keltik Ltd, Hampton Hill, UK

Martin N. Sweeting

Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK

Adrian R. L. Tatnall

Preface to The Fourth Edition

When I was thinking about what to say in this foreword to the fourth edition, I had a look back over the previous editions to get a flavour of what was going on when they were published—the first two decades ago! Obviously a great deal has changed in that time, which is of course reflected in the current book's content. However, one aspect that has remained constant throughout that time is the influence that the US Space Shuttle has had as the work-horse of the West's human spaceflight programme.

The Shuttle's first launch three decades ago, in 1981, was for me one of those landmark events that somehow spurs the memory to recall exactly where you were and what you were doing at the time. For me, the 12th of April 1981 was a glorious spring day, during which my wife and I enjoyed the climb of a peak in the remote north-west Highlands of Scotland. However, sensing the historic character of the day's events, I do recall a resolve at the end of that glorious day to find out how the first historic flight of Shuttle Columbia had gone. The subsequent history of the Shuttle programme is well documented. Despite the high cost of operations, the programme has overall been hugely successful, but also overshadowed by the human cost of desperate tragedies. Coming full circle, this year sees the retirement of this remarkable machine, again an event with a personal dimension—the commencement and retirement of the Shuttle's space career have coincided closely with my own career in the space industry and academia! Consequently, like an old friend, it's always been there.

The Shuttle retirement has inevitably forced a rethink of the US human spaceflight programme. As a consequence, the Bush administration proposed the Constellation programme which centred on a new crewed spacecraft Orion. This was to be lifted to orbit by the Shuttle replacement—the man-rated Ares 1 launcher. The other significant component of the programme was a heavy-lift launch vehicle called Ares 5, which would independently orbit the massive payloads required for human exploration beyond Earth orbit. The main objectives of the programme were a return to the moon by 2020, and preparations for a crewed landing on Mars in the longer term. However, the incoming Obama administration has effectively overturned the ‘Bush vision’, throwing open the development of human access to orbit to private venture, abandoning the immediate prospect of human exploration beyond Earth orbit, and extending the lifetime of the International Space Station to 2020. In the short-term this has led to the rather bizarre situation of focusing US human spaceflight activities on Earth orbit, but without the independent means of US astronauts to reach it. At the time of writing, the future development of US human spaceflight is unclear, which raises the prospect that the next footprints on the moon's surface may be those of Chinese taikonauts. As far as the book content is concerned, this has not been a good time to attempt to write about this aspect of space activity. For example, reference to the Space Shuttle is minimal throughout the current edition, and the emphasis in the launch vehicles section (Chapter 7) is on the European Ariane launcher programme (although there is some discussion of the Ares launchers, which in the fullness of time may, or may not, be relevant).

The majority of the book content, however, focuses on the design and engineering of unmanned spacecraft, and around the turn of the millennium, the ‘faster, better, cheaper’ design philosophy was particularly influential in reducing the size and mass of science spacecraft in particular. However, this has been tempered somewhat by the occurrence of inopportune in-orbit failures, which have provided lessons that maybe faster and cheaper are not necessarily better. However, the explosion of interest in small, capable spacecraft continues unabated, and this is reflected in an updated Chapter 18 on small satellite engineering.

At the other end of the size range, there are a number of major robotic spacecraft programmes that will be making the headlines soon after this edition hits the book shelves. Perhaps, the most significant of these is the follow-on to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been christened the James Webb Space Telescope. This is to be launched in around 2014 to the L2 Sun-Earth Lagrange point, around 1.5 million km from Earth. With a mirror nearly three times the size of Hubble's, the scientists are looking forward to an explosion of new cosmological discoveries resulting from its operation. At the same time, the ESA comet probe Rosetta should be beginning its mission in orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and it is anticipated that the Rosetta data will provide a step function in our understanding of the origins of our local environment, the solar system. In the world of application satellites, a new global navigation satellite system called Galileo should become operational, also around 2014. This is a civil programme, funded by the European Union, involving the launch of a constellation of 30 satellites in Earth orbits at a height of around 23 000 km. It is hoped that the introduction of this non-military system will remove the reticence of civilian organisations to embrace the technology of satellite navigation in their operations. One significant development arising from this is the prospect of satellite navigation being fully utilized in the arena of civil air traffic control.

This fourth edition of Spacecraft Systems Engineering has been significantly revised and updated throughout, so that readers can master the many facets involved in an unmanned space vehicle project, like those mentioned above, from early system design through to in-orbit flight operations. There are also some ‘all-new’ features which are worthy of additional mention. Current trends in interplanetary missions have suggested that a new section on low-thrust trajectories would be helpful, and this has been added to the already-extensive Mission Analysis chapter (Chapter 5). The previous Chapter 14 on Ground Stations has been rewritten. The new version has been entitled ‘Ground Segment’ to emphasize that this area is not just about ground station aspects, but also includes many other activities such as flight operations. A new chapter (Chapter 17) has been added devoted to the important topic of Assembly, Integration and Verification, which focuses on the later stages of a spacecraft project when the whole system is brought together and tested prior to launch. The old chapter on Product Assurance has been completely rewritten (Chapter 19) to reflect the diverse aspects of PA, including that of software. This is particularly pertinent in the space sector, in which the manufactured ‘products’ often must survive many years in a hostile environment without the benefit of maintenance. The final chapter on Spacecraft System Engineering (Chapter 20) has also been rewritten, changing the emphasis to discuss system design methods—in particular that of concurrent engineering design. System design in action is illustrated by discussion of the design development of the ESA Cryosat spacecraft, which is used as a case study.

Finally, the editors wish to thank the army of contributors who have given their time and effort to bring this edition to fruition—without them a new edition would not have been possible. We are also indebted to the team at Wiley, in particular to Nicky Skinner and Gill Whitley, whose assistance throughout the period of compilation of the manuscript was invaluable. As this stage was drawing to a close, and the production process was beginning, we were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Nicky Skinner in March. My regret is that our working relationship was conducted purely by email as is often the case these days. Although I did not have an opportunity to meet up and consolidate that relationship, nevertheless I feel I got to know Nicky very well. I am thankful for her assistance throughout, and it is entirely appropriate that this edition is dedicated to her memory.

Graham Swinerd

Southampton, March 2011

Preface to The Third Edition

Graham Swinerd, my friend and colleague, took over the running of the Space Technology short courses at Southampton University when I retired in 1989. Who would be a better choice than Graham to take over the role of principal editor for this new edition of Spacecraft Systems Engineering? I am sure that Graham will build on the reputation that the past editions have achieved, and I wish him success in his new role. Over to you, Graham…

Peter Fortescue, Southampton, July 2002

Since the publication of the previous edition, Dan Goldin's ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ space mission philosophy has had a major impact upon American activities. As a consequence, the last of the heavyweight interplanetary spacecraft, Cassini, was launched in October 1997 on its mission to Saturn. Programmes such as NEAR Shoemaker, which launched a relatively small but capable spacecraft in February 1996 to orbit and ultimately to land on a small body—the asteroid 433 Eros—have substituted this type of mission. These ‘small missions’ have significantly influenced current and proposed planetary exploration programmes.

In the same interim period, we have also seen the launch of constellations into low Earth orbit, for global mobile communications using handheld telephones—in particular, the Iridium constellation, the first satellites of which were lofted in May 1997. Although financial problems have impacted this programme, it nevertheless heralds large-scale use of constellation systems in many application areas. There are great benefits to the usage of these distributed systems, not only in communications and navigation applications but also in improving the temporal coverage of Earth observation. There is also an implicit trend here to use a number of small, but capable, spacecraft to do the job of one or two large satellites.

The principal driver for the development of small satellite technology is the reduction in cost associated with access to space. The elements contributing to this philosophy are low launch costs, a short design, build and test period, a less complex ground interface and operations, and the recognition of a means of testing new spacecraft technologies in a relatively low financial risk environment.

At the other end of the size spectrum, December 1998 saw the first elements of the International Space Station (ISS) being brought together in orbit. If development continues as originally planned, around 2005, the ISS will become the largest structure (~400 tonnes) ever to be deployed in Earth orbit, marking the beginning of permanent habitation in space.

These various developments have had a significant influence on the structure of the new edition of the book. The major changes involve the removal of the chapter on atmospheric re-entry, and the addition of a new chapter on small satellite engineering and applications. Much of the removed material has been redistributed in other chapters, however, for example, Earth atmosphere re-entry is included in Chapter 7 (Launch Vehicles), and sections on aero-manoeuvring have been included in Chapter 5 (Mission Analysis). The new Chapter 18 on Small Satellites has been contributed by Martin Sweeting and Craig Underwood of the Surrey Space Centre, based at the University of Surrey, UK. Both individuals are recognized internationally for their expertise in this field. The chapter, built on the huge expertise of the Surrey Space Centre, gives insights into small satellite systems engineering in general. Given the growing activity in this area, no textbook of this kind is complete without such a contribution.

Other chapters have been rewritten—in particular, Chapter 8 (Spacecraft Structures), Chapter 11 (Thermal Control), Chapter 16 (Electromagnetic Compatibility) and Chapter 19 (Spacecraft Systems Engineering)—and most of the others have been substantially revised, including a discussion of constellation design and small-body missions in Chapter 5 (Mission Analysis).

Some of the authors of the second edition have retired, and new names have appeared in the contributors list. The editors are grateful to all of them for their contributions. It is also sad to report that three of our previous authors have died in the interim—Howard Smith (Telecommunications), Les Woolliscroft (Spacecraft Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering) and Mervyn Briscoe (Spacecraft Mechanisms). Each of them will be sadly missed.

The reader may have noticed the dedication at the front of the book to one of these authors, Mervyn Briscoe, who was actively involved in revising his chapter on Mechanisms when he died in 2001. Our thanks are also due to Guglielmo Aglietti who jumped into the hot seat to complete the revision of Mervyn's chapter as a co-author. Mervyn gave loyal service as a contributor to the short course activity at Southampton over many years, and we would like to acknowledge this by dedicating this edition to his memory.

Finally, it is appropriate to thank both Peter Fortescue and John Stark for their pioneering work in bringing the previous editions to fruition, and for their valued assistance with this one.

Graham Swinerd

Southampton, July 2002

Preface to The Second Edition

This second edition comes in response to a phone call that we editors had been dreading. ‘Had we thought of producing a second edition?’ After much consideration our answer was ‘Yes’, and here it is.

Not only has it given our contributing authors a chance to update the material in their chapters—the technology is developing all the time and five years is a long time! It has also given us the opportunity to rectify some of the errors in the first edition (and possibly to introduce some new ones), and to respond to suggestions from readers about the content and to our inevitable ‘second thoughts’ on the matter. As a result there are two new chapters.

The first is on Mechanisms—important equipment on spacecraft. They are an essential part of many of the systems that are covered in the other chapters, but having their own requirements we have given them chapter status here. They are a specialist topic, involving the problem of moving one mechanical part relative to another. For an application that has a long life, no servicing, no disturbance to the structure, and ideally no single point failure as design objectives, mechanism designers are faced with a challenging task. Chapter 16 tells us how they have responded to it.

The second additional chapter addresses the subject of System Engineering. The first edition has no hyphens in its title. Those who read the title as meaning ‘The Engineering of Spacecraft Systems’ will probably have found that the content was much as they had expected. Indeed there have been enough satisfied readers to cause the dreaded question of a second edition to be raised. However, it could also be read as meaning ‘Systems Engineering of Spacecraft’, and those who interpreted it as such will no doubt have been disappointed to have found little on the discipline of System Engineering in the book.

So our response is to retain the same ambiguous title, and to retain the same thrust as in the first edition. But we have added a new chapter (No. 19), which focuses on the subject of Systems Engineering of spacecraft. It is written by authors within the spacecraft industry who have experience in that activity. We hope it will bring together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that are to be found among the other chapters, and will show how they can be fitted together harmoniously to form a viable whole—a spacecraft that meets its design objectives in a viable manner.

Since the first edition some of our authors have moved to new locations; some have retired. New names have appeared in our list of contributors. We editors are grateful to them all—new and old—and trust that this edition presents ‘second thoughts’ that are an improvement on the first.

Preface to The First Edition

This book has grown out of a set of course notes, which accompany a series of short courses given at Southampton University. These courses started in 1974 with a two week ‘space technology’ course, and they are aimed at the recent science or engineering graduate who wishes to become a spacecraft engineer. The courses are still thriving, now serving much of European industry, with one-week versions for experienced engineers, sometimes senior ones, who are specialists in their own fields.

On the courses, the attendees work in competing teams on a project that involves designing a spacecraft in response to an overall objective. Over the years, mission designs have been directed at all application areas: science, astronomy, communications and Earth observations. There is now a ‘museum’ of models that demonstrate vehicle layouts and support the attendees' presentations covering operation, subsystem specification and launch constraints. These models demonstrate system viability rather than detailed design. The projects are designed at ‘system level’, and their supervision has provided a basis for deciding the level of detail that should be included in this book.

The coverage in this book is therefore aimed at giving the breadth that is needed by system engineers, with an emphasis on the bus aspect rather than on the payload. The specialist engineer is well served with textbooks, which cover many of the subsystems in detail and in depth. He is unlikely to learn very much about his own specialist topic from this book. But he may well learn something about other specialists' disciplines, and, it is hoped, enough for him to appreciate the trade-offs that affect his own subsystem in relation to others.

Chapters 2 to 5 set the general scene for spacecraft, and particularly for satellites. They must operate in an environment that is generally hostile compared to that with which we are familiar on Earth, and the main features of this are described in Chapter 2. Chapters 3 and 4 address the dynamics of objects in space, where the vehicles will respond to forces and moments that are minute, and which would be discounted as of no significance if they occurred on Earth. Indeed, most of them do occur here, but we do not often operate in a fully free state, and our Earth-bound vehicles are subject to other, much larger forces.

Chapter 5 relates the motion of the spacecraft to Earth rather than to the inertially based reference system of celestial mechanics.

Chapters 6 to 15 address the main subsystems. Chapters 7 and 8 cover the subjects of getting off the ground and returning through the atmosphere. Chapters 6, 9 to 12 and 14 deal with the main subsystems on board the spacecraft, that include the on-board end of the telemetry and control link (Chapter 14) with ground control (Chapter 15). The communication link is covered in Chapter 13 in which the fundamentals of the subject are included together with their rather special application to spacecraft. This is relevant to the telemetry and control link and to a communications payload.

Chapter 16 introduces electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), one of the subjects that must be addressed by the systems engineer if the various subsystems are to work in harmony. Product assurance is of vital concern to spacecraft engineers. Their product(s) must survive a hostile launch environment and then must last many years without the luxury of any maintenance. It does great credit to the discipline they exercise, that so many of their products do so.

We editors would like to express our thanks to the authors who have contributed chapters in the book. Most of them have lectured on the courses mentioned above. Our task has been to whittle down the material they have provided since they have been very generous. We are grateful too for their patience. The conversion of course notes into a book was expected to be a short process. How wrong we were!

We would also like to thank colleagues Graham Swinerd and Adrian Tatnall, who read some of the texts and gave advice. And finally our thanks to Sally Mulford, who has converted some much-abused text into typescript with patience and good humour.

List of Acronyms

AATSRAdvanced Along-Track Scanning RadiometerABMApogee Boost MotorACAlternating currentACSAttitude Control SystemACUAntenna Control UnitA/DAnalogue to digitalADEOSAdvanced Earth Observing SystemADRActive Debris RemovalAFTAbbreviated Functional TestAGCAutomatic gain controlAITAssembly, integration and testAIVAssembly, integration and verificationAKMApogee Kick MotorAMAmplitude modulationAMIActive Microwave InstrumentAMOOSAero-Manoeuvring Orbit-to-Orbit ShuttleAOAnnouncement of OpportunityAOCSAttitude and Orbit Control SystemAOPAnnouncement of Opportunity PackageAOSAcquisition of signal, also Advanced Orbiting SystemsAOTVAero-assisted Orbital Transfer VehicleAPMAntenna Pointing Mechanism, also Attached Pressurized ModuleAPSActive Pixel SensorAQAPAllied Quality Assurance PublicationARQAutomatic report queuingASAPAriane Structure for Auxiliary PayloadsASARAdvanced Synthetic Aperture RadarASICApplication-specific integrated circuitASKAmplitude-shift keyingASSAntenna Support StructureASWAddress and synchronization wordATCSActive Thermal Control SystemATSRAlong-track Scanning RadiometerAUAstronomical Unit (mean distance from Earth to Sun)BCDTBinary code data transferBCHBose-Chaudhuri-HocquenchemBCRBattery Charge RegulatorBDRBattery Discharge RegulatorBERBit error rateBMDOBallistic Missile Defence OrganizationBMUBattery Management UnitBOLBeginning of lifeBPFBand-pass filterBPSKBi-phase-shift keyingBRTSBilateration Ranging Transponder SystemBSFBack-Surface FieldBSRBack-Surface ReflectorCAContingency AnalysisCADComputer Aided DesignCADUChannel Access Data UnitCAMCivil, Aircraft, MilitaryCCBConfiguration Control BoardCCDCharge coupled deviceCCIRComité Consultatif International de RadiocommunicationCCITTComité Consultatif International de Téléphonie et de TélégraphieCCSDSConsultative Committee for Space Data SystemsCCUCentral Communications UnitCDFConcurrent Design FacilityC&DHControl and Data HandlingC&DMConfiguration and Data ManagementCDMACode-division multiple accessCDRCritical Design ReviewCEConcurrent EngineeringCEVCommand Execution VerificationCFDPCCSDS File Delivery ProtocolCFRPCarbon fibre reinforced plasticCHAMPCHAllenging Minisatellite PayloadCHRISCompact High Resolution Imaging SpectrometerCISConfederation of Independent StatesCLACoupled loads analysisCLTUCommand Link Transfer UnitCMGControl moment gyroscopeCMOSComplementary metal oxide semiconductorCNESCentre National d'Etudes Spatiales (French National Space Agency)COMSATCommunications SatelliteCOTSCommercial off the shelfCPLCapillary-pumped loopCPMCoarse pointing mechanismCRCorrosion resistanceCRPContingency Recovery ProcedureCSGCentre Spatial GuyanaisCTMCollapsible Tube MastCVCMCollected volatile condensable materialsCWContinuous-waveDARPADefence Advanced Research Project AgencyDBData BaseDCDirect currentDCPData Collection PlatformDoDDepartment of Defence (USA)DLR(German Aerospace Centre)DMDevelopment ModelDOFDegree of freedomDORISDetermination of Orbit and Radiopositioning Integrated by SatelliteDPLDeclared Parts ListDPSKDifferential phase-shift keyingDRSData Relay SatelliteDSBSCDouble side-band suppressed carrier modulationDS-CDMADirect Sequence Code Division Multiple AccessDSNDeep Space NetworkDSPDigital signal processing, also Digital Signal ProcessorECREngineering Change RequestECSSEuropean Cooperation for Space StandardizationEDAElectrically Despun AntennaEDACError detection and correctionEEEElectrical, Electronic and ElectromechanicalEGSEElectrical Ground Support EquipmentEIRPEquivalent isotropic radiated powerELVExpendable Launch VehicleEMElectrical Model, also Engineering ModelEMCElectromagnetic compatibilityEMIElectromagnetic interferenceEMPElectromagnetic pulseEOEPEarth Observation Envelope ProgrammeEOLEnd of lifetimeEOSEarth Observing Systeme.p.Equivalent particleER-MILEstablished Reliability-MILERSEarth Resources SatelliteERTEarth Received TimeESAEuropean Space AgencyESATANEuropean Space Agency Network AnalyserESDElectrostatic dischargeESOCEuropean Space Operations CentreESTECEuropean Space Research and Technology CentreESTLEuropean Space Tribology LaboratoryEUMETSATEuropean Meteorological Satellite OrganizationEURECAEuropean Retrievable CarrierEUTELSATEuropean Telecommunications Satellite OrganizationEVAExtra-vehicular activityEWSKEast-West Station KeepingFARFlight Acceptance ReviewFBCFaster, Better, CheaperFCPFlight Control ProcedureFDIRFault detection, inspection and recoveryFDMAFrequency-division multiple accessFEFinite elementFEAFinite element analysisFEEPField emission electric propulsionFEMFlight Engineering ModelFETField effect transistorFFSKFast frequency-shift keyingFGSEFluids Ground Support EquipmentFIFOFirst-In-First-OutFIRSTFar Infra-Red Space TelescopeFITSFailures per 109 hoursFMFlight Model, also Frequency ModulationFMECAFailure Mode Effects and Criticality AnalysisFOGFibre optic gyroscopeFOPFlight Operations Proceduref.o.r.Frame of referenceFOVField of viewFPGAField Programmable Gate ArrayFPMFine Pointing Mechanism, also Fine-pointing modeFRBFailure Review BoardFRRFlight Readiness ReviewFRSIFlexible reusable surface insulationFSFail safeFSKFrequency-shift keyingFTAFault Tree AnalysisGEMGiotto Extended MissionGEOGeostationary Earth orbitGLONASSGlobal Navigation Satellite SystemGMTGreenwich Mean TimeGNSSGlobal Navigation Satellite SystemGOCEGravity field and steady state Ocean Circulation ExplorerGOESGeostationary Orbit Environmental SatellitesGOMOSGlobal ozone monitoring by the occultation of starsGPSGlobal Positioning SystemGRACEGravity Recovery And Climate ExperimentGROGamma Ray ObservationGSEGround Support EquipmentGSFCGoddard Space Flight CenterGSOCGerman Space Operations CentreG/TGround trackGTOGeostationary transfer orbitHEOHighly elliptical orbitHGAHigh Gain AntennaHGASHigh Gain Antenna SystemHOTOLHorizontal take-off and landingHPAHigh power amplifierHRGHemispherical Resonator GyroscopeHRSIHigh-temperature reusable surface insulationHSTHigh Speed Telemetry, also Hubble Space TelescopeICIntegrated circuitICBMInter-Continental Ballistic MissileICUInstrument Control Unit, also Intelligent Control UnitIDEIntegrated Design EnvironmentIDHTInstrument data-handling and transmissionIDMIntegrated Design ModelIFIntermediate frequencyIFOVInstantaneous field of viewIFRInertial frame of referenceIFRBInternational Frequency Registration BoardIMIntermodulationINMARSATInternational Maritime Satellite OrganizationINTELSATInternational Telecommunications Satellite OrganizationIOARIn Orbit Acceptance ReviewIOTIn Orbit TestIPInternet ProtocolIPNInterplanetary InternetIPNRGIPN Research GroupIQIn-phase and QuadratureIRASInfra-Red Astronomical SatelliteIRIGInter-Range Instrumentation GroupIRTFInternet Research Task ForceISCIntegrated System CheckISDNIntegrated Services Digital NetworkISOInfrared Space Observatory, also International Organization for StandardizationISSInternational Space StationISTIntegrated System TestITInformation TechnologyITUInternational Telecommunications UnionJAXAJapan Aerospace Exploration AgencyJGMJoint Gravity ModelJHUAPLJohns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryJPLJet Propulsion LaboratoryKSAK-band Steerable AntennaKSCKennedy Space CenterLAMLiquid Apogee MotorLBRLow bit-rateLDEFLong Duration Exposure FacilityLEAFLarge European Acoustic FacilityLEDLight emitting diodeLEOLow Earth OrbitLEOPLaunch and Early Orbit PhaseLETLinear energy transferLHPLoop heat pipeLISALaser Interferometer Spaceborne AntennaLISNLine impedance stabilization networkLNALow noise amplifierLOLocal oscillatorLOSLoss of signalLPFLow-pass filterLRRLaser retro-reflectorLRSILow-temperature reusable surface insulationLSSLarge Space SimulatorLSTLow speed telemetryLTPLong-haul Transport ProtocolMAMultiple accessMACMedium Access ControlMbpsMega bits per secondMCCMission Control CentreMCPCMulti-Channel Per CarrierMCSMonitoring and Control SystemMCUMode Control UnitMDBSMesh double bumper shieldMEMSMicro Electro Mechanical SystemsMEOMedium height Earth OrbitMERISMedium Resolution Imaging SpectrometerMETMission Elapsed TimeMFRMulti-function receiverMGSEMechanical Ground Support EquipmentMHSMicro Humidity SensorMIL-STDMilitary StandardMIPASMichelson interferometer for passive atmospheric soundingMIPSMillion instructions per secondMLIMulti-layered insulationMMBSMultiple mesh bumper shieldMMHMono-methylhydrazineMMICMonolithic microwave integrated circuitMMSMulti-mission Modular SpacecraftMODMinistry of DefenceMOPMultiple On-line Peripheral, also Meteosat Operational ProgrammeMOSMetal oxide semiconductorMOSFETMetal oxide semiconductor field effect transistorMPDMagneto-plasma-dynamicMPGMulti Point GroundingMPSMission Planning SystemMRBMaterials Review BoardMSGMeteosat Second GenerationMSHMicro Humidity SounderMSSMultishock shieldMSTMicro systems technologyMTBFMean time between failuresMTTFMan-Tended Free FlyerMVSMachine Vision SystemMWMomentum wheelMWRMicrowave RadiometerNASANational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNASPNational Aero-Space PlaneNBFMNarrow-band frequency modulationNCRNon Conformance ReportNDTNon-destructive testingNEARNear Earth Asteroid RendezvousNERVANuclear engine for rocket vehicle applicationsN-MOSN-type metal oxide semiconductorNSSKNorth-South Station KeepingOBCOn-Board ComputerOBDHOn-board data handlingOBSOn-board softwareOCCOperations Control CentreOMSOrbital Manoeuvring SubsystemOSCAROrbiting satellite carrying amateur radioOSROptical Solar ReflectorOTAOptical Telescope AssemblyOTVOrbital Transfer VehiclePAProduct AssurancePAEHTPower-Augmented Hydrazine ThrusterP-MOSP-type metal oxide semiconductorPAMPayload Assist ModulePAM-APayload Assist Module—Atlas-sizedPAM-DPayload Assist Module—Delta-sizedPCPersonal computerPCBPrinted circuit boardPCDUPower Control and Distribution UnitPCMPulse Code Modulation, or Phase Change MaterialPDCProject Design CentrePDFProbability Density FunctionPDHTPayload data handling and transmissionPDRPreliminary Design ReviewPDUSPrimary Data User StationPEBPayload Equipment BayPEEKPolyether Ether KetonePEMPayload Electronics ModulePFProtoflightPFMProtoflight ModelPIDProportional, integral and differentialPIMPassive intermodulation productPLCPayload CarrierPLMPayload ModulePMPhase modulation, also Pulse modulationPMCPayload Module ComputerPMLPreferred Materials ListPMPParts, materials and processesPNPseudo-random noisePOEMPolar Orbiting Earth-observation MissionPPFPolar PlatformPPHSSPreservation, Packaging, Handling, Storage and ShippingPPLPreferred Parts ListPRAREPrecise Range and Range-rate EquipmentPRKPhase-reversal keyingPRRPreliminary Requirements ReviewPSKPhase-shift keyingPTPrototypePTCSPassive Thermal Control SystemPTFEPolytetrafluoroethylenePUPattern UnitPUSPacket Utilization StandardPVGPiezo-electric Vibratory GyroscopeQAQuality AssuranceQFQuality FactorQMQualification ModelQPLQualified Parts ListQPSKQuadrature phase-shift keyingQRQualification ReviewRARadar altimeterRALRutherford Appleton LaboratoryRAMRandom Access Memory, or Radio-frequency Anechoic MaterialRAMSReliability, Availability, Maintainability and SafetyRARRRange and range rateRBIRemote Bus InterfacesRCCReinforced carbon-carbonRCEReaction Control EquipmentRFRadio FrequencyRFARequest for approvalRFCRadio frequency compatibilityRFDRequest For DeviationRFWRequest For WaiverRIGRate-Integrating GyroscopeRKARussian Federal Space AgencyRLGRing Laser GyroscopeRLVReusable Launch VehicleRMSRemote Manipulator SystemROMRead-only MemoryRpmRevolutions per minuteRSReed-SolomonRTGRadioisotope Thermoelectric GeneratorRTURemote Terminal UnitRWReaction WheelSASingle accessSADSolar Array DriveSADMSolar array drive mechanismSAOSmithsonian Astrophysics ObservatorySARSynthetic Aperture RadarSASSolar Array SystemSAWSurface Acoustic WaveSBES-Band ExciterSCCStress corrosion crackingSCFSatellite Control FacilitySCIAMACHYScanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric CartographySCPCSingle channel per carrierSCPSSpace Communications Protocol StandardsSCPS-FPSCPS File ProtocolSCPS-NPSCPS Network ProtocolSCPS-SPSCPS Security ProtocolSCPS-TPSCPS Transport ProtocolSCRAMJETSupersonic Combustion RAMJETSDRSystem Design ReviewSDUSSecondary Data User StationSEESingle event effectSELSingle-event latch-upSEUSingle event upsetSFTSystem Functional TestSGLSpace-to-ground linkSIRALSAR and Interferometric Radar AltimeterSLSafe lifeSLRSatellite laser rangingSMStructure ModelSMMSolar Maximum MissionSMOSSoil Moisture and Ocean SalinitySNAP-19System for Nuclear Auxiliary PowerSNRSignal-to-noise ratioSOHOSolar and Heliospheric ObservatorySOPSpacecraft overhead passSPASolar Power ArraySPESolid Polymer ElectrolyteSPELDAStructure Porteuse pour Lancement Double ArianeSPGSingle-point groundingSP-L/PMSplit Phase-Level/Phase ModulationSPOTSatellite Pour l'Observation de la TerreSPSSatellite Power SystemS3RSequential switching shunt regulationSRESpacecraft Ranging EquipmentSRPSolar radiation pressureSRRSystem Requirements ReviewSSAS-band Steerable Antenna, also Space Situational AwarenessSSBSingle side-bandSSLVStandard Small Launch VehicleSSMSecond Surface MirrorSSMASpread-spectrum multiple accessSSMESpace Shuttle Main EngineSSPASolid State Power AmplifierSSTLSurrey Satellites Technology LimitedSSTOSingle Stage To OrbitSSUSSolid Spinning Upper StageSTDNSpaceflight Tracking and Data NetworkSTRVSpace Technology Research VehicleSTSSpace Transportation SystemSVMService ModuleSVTSystem Validation TestSWSoftwareSYLDASystème de Lancement Double ArianeTCP/IPTransmission Control Protocol/Internet ProtocolTC&RTelemetry, Command and RangingTCSThermal Control SystemTDMTime-Division MultiplexedTDMATime-division multiple accessTDPSTracking and Data Processing StationTDRSTracking and Data Relay SatelliteTDRSSTracking and Data Relay Satellite SystemTIUTime Interval UnitTLETwo Line ElementsTLMTelemetryTMThermal ModelTMLTotal Mass LossTMMThermal Mathematical ModelTM/TCTelemetry/TelecommandTPSThermal Protection SubsystemTRBTest Review BoardTRLTechnology Readiness LevelTRRTest Readiness ReviewTT&CTracking, Telemetry and ControlTTLTransistor-transistor logicTWTTravelling Wave TubeTWTATravelling Wave Tube AmplifierUARSUpper Atmosphere Research SpacecraftUARTUniversal Asynchronous Receiver and TransmitterUHFUltra High FrequencyUOSATUniversity of Surrey SatelliteUQPSKUnbalanced quadrature phase-shift keyingUSAFUnited States Air ForceUSBUpper side-bandUSNOUS Naval ObservatoryUSSTRATCOMUS Strategic CommandUTUniversal TimeUTCUniversal Time Co-ordinatedVCDUVirtual Channel Data UnitVCHPVariable-Conductance Heat PipeVCOVoltage-Controlled OscillatorVCXOVoltage-Controlled Crystal OscillatorVHDLVery High level Design description LanguageVHFVery high frequencyVLSIVery large scale integratedWARCWorld Administrative Radio ConferenceWBFMWide-Band Frequency ModulationWRCWorld Radio ConferenceWSGTWhite Sands Ground TerminalWTRWestern Test RangeWWWWorld Wide WebXMMX-ray Multi-mirror MissionXPDCross-Polar DiscriminationYSMYaw-steering mode

Chapter 1


John P. W. Stark1, Graham G. Swinerd2 and Adrian R. L. Tatnall2

1School of Engineering and Material Science, Queen Mary, University of London

2Aeronautics and Astronautics, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton

Man has only had the ability to operate spacecraft successfully since 1957, when the Russian satellite Sputnik I was launched into orbit. At the time of writing (2010) the Space Age is just over half a century old. In that time technology has made great strides, and the Apollo human expedition to the Moon and back is now a rather distant memory. In little more than five decades, unmanned explorer spacecraft have flown past all the major bodies of the Solar System, apart from the ‘dwarf planet’ Pluto—this exception will soon be remedied, however, by the ‘New Horizons’ spacecraft that is due to fly through the Pluto-Charon system in 2015. Space vehicles have landed on the Moon and Venus, and in recent years Mars has seen a veritable armada of orbiters, landers and rovers in preparation for a hoped-for future human expedition to the red planet. The Galileo Jupiter orbiter successfully deployed a probe in 1995, which ‘landed’ on the gaseous ‘surface’ of Jupiter. The Cassini/Huygens spacecraft has been a stunning success, entering orbit around Saturn in 2004, and executing a perfect landing on Titan of the European built Huygens probe in 2005. Minor bodies in the Solar System have also received the attention of mission planners. The first landing on such a body was executed by the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecraft, when it touched down on the Eros asteroid in February 2001. This was succeeded in 2005 by the attempted sampling of material from the Itokawa asteroid by the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft. Although the sampling operation was unsuccessful, the spacecraft is now on a return journey to Earth in the hope that some remnants of asteroid material may be found in its sealed sampling chamber. Similarly, a prime objective of the ambitious European Rosetta programme is to place a lander on a cometary body in 2014. There is also a growing awareness of the impact threat posed by near-Earth asteroids and comets, which is driving research into effective means of diverting such a body from a collision course with Earth.

Since our brief sojourn to the Moon in 1969–1972, human spaceflight has been confined to Earth orbit, with the current focus on construction and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS). The United States, Europe, Russia and Japan are all involved in this ambitious long-term programme. The ISS has been a major step for both the technology and politics of the space industry, and has been a useful exercise in learning to live and work in space—a necessary lesson for future human exploration of the Solar System. The ‘work horse’ of this activity has been the US Space Shuttle, which has been the United States' principal means of human access to orbit over almost three decades. However, 2011 sees the retirement of the Shuttle. This is a major event in NASA's space operations, and it has forced a radical rethink of the United States' human spaceflight programme. This led to the proposal of a less complex man-rated launch vehicle, Ares 1, which is part of the Constellation Programme. The objective of this programme is to produce a new human spaceflight infrastructure to allow a return of US astronauts to the Moon, and ultimately to Mars. However, the shuttle retirement coincides with a deep global financial recession, and the political commitment to the Constellation Programme appears to be very uncertain. This re-evaluation by the US will perhaps herald the reinvigoration of the drive towards the full commercialization of the space infrastructure.

There is no doubt, however, that the development of unmanned application spacecraft will continue unabated. Many countries now have the capability of putting spacecraft into orbit. Satellites have established a firm foothold as part of the infrastructure that underpins our technological society here on Earth. There is every expectation that they have much more to offer in the future.

Before the twentieth century, space travel was largely a flight of fantasy. Most authors during that time failed to understand the nature of a spacecraft's motion, and this resulted in the idea of ‘lighter-than-air’ travel for most would-be space-farers [1, 2]. At the turn of the twentieth century, however, a Russian teacher, K. E. Tsiolkovsky, laid the foundation stone for rocketry by providing insight into the nature of propulsive motion. In 1903, he published a paper in the Moscow Technical Review deriving what we now term the rocket equation, or Tsiolkovsky's equation (equation 3.20). Owing to the small circulation of this journal, the results of his work were largely unknown in the West prior to the work of Hermann Oberth, which was published in 1923.

These analyses provided an understanding of propulsive requirements, but they did not provide the technology. This eventually came, following work by R. H. Goddard in America and Wernher von Braun in Germany. The Germans demonstrated their achievements with the V-2 rocket, which they used towards the end of World War II. Their rockets were the first reliable propulsive systems, and while they were not capable of placing a vehicle into orbit, they could deliver a warhead of approximately 1000 kg over a range of 300 km. It was largely the work of these same German engineers that led to the first successful flight of Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957, closely followed by the first American satellite, Explorer 1, on 31 January 1958.

Five decades have seen major advances in space technology. It has not always been smooth, as evidenced by the major impact that the Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003) disasters had on the American space programme. Technological advances in many areas have, however, been achieved. Particularly notable are the developments in energy-conversion technologies, especially solar photovoltaics, fuel cells and batteries. Developments in heat-pipe technology have also occurred in the space arena, with ground-based application in the oil industry. Perhaps the most notable developments in this period, however, have been in electronic computers and software. Although these have not necessarily been driven by space technology, the new capabilities that they afford have been rapidly assimilated, and they have revolutionized the flexibility of spacecraft. In some cases they have even turned a potential mission failure into a grand success.

But the spacecraft has also presented a challenge to Man's ingenuity and understanding. Even something as fundamental as the unconstrained rotational motion of a body is now better understood as a consequence of placing a spacecraft's dynamics under close scrutiny. Man has been successful in devising designs for spacecraft that will withstand a hostile space environment, and he has found many solutions.

1.1 Payloads and Missions

Payloads and missions for spacecraft are many and varied. Some have reached the stage of being economically viable, such as satellites for communications, weather and navigation purposes. Others monitor Earth for its resources, the health of its crops and pollution. Determination of the extent and nature of global warming is only possible using the global perspective provided by satellites. Other satellites serve the scientific community of today and perhaps the layman of tomorrow by adding to Man's knowledge of the Earth's environment, the solar system and the universe.

Each of these peaceful applications is paralleled by inevitable military ones. By means of global observations, the old ‘superpowers’ acquired knowledge of military activities on the surface of the planet and the deployment of aircraft. Communication satellites serve the military user, as do weather satellites. The Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational satellite constellation is now able to provide an infantryman, sailor or fighter pilot with his location to an accuracy of about a metre. These ‘high ground’ space technologies have become an integral part of military activity in the most recent terrestrial conflicts.

Table 1.1 presents a list of payloads/missions with an attempt at placing them into categories based upon the types of trajectory they may follow. The satellites may be categorized in a number of ways such as by orbit altitude, eccentricity or inclination.

Table 1.1 Payload/mission types

MissionTrajectory typeCommunicationsGeostationary for low latitudes, Molniya and Tundra for high latitudes (mainly Russian), Constellations of polar LEO satellites for global coverageEarth resourcesPolar LEO for global coverageWeatherPolar LEO, or geostationaryNavigationInclined MEO for global coverageAstronomyLEO, HEO, GEO and ‘orbits’ around Lagrange pointsSpace environmentVarious, including HEOMilitaryPolar LEO for global coverage, but variousSpace stationsLEOTechnology demonstrationVarious

Note: GEO: Geostationary Earth orbit; HEO: Highly elliptical orbit; LEO: Low Earth Orbit; MEO: Medium height Earth Orbit.

It is important to note that the specific orbit adopted for a mission will have a strong impact on the design of the vehicle, as illustrated in the following paragraphs.

Consider geostationary (GEO) missions; these are characterized by the vehicle having a fixed position relative to the features of the Earth. The propulsive requirement to achieve such an orbit is large, and thus the ‘dry mass’ (exclusive of propellant) is a modest fraction of the all-up ‘wet mass’ of the vehicle. With the cost per kilogram-in-orbit being as high as it currently is—of the order of $30 000 per kilogram in geostationary orbit—it usually becomes necessary to optimize the design to achieve minimum mass, and this leads to a large number of vehicle designs, each suitable only for a narrow range of payloads and missions.

Considering the communication between the vehicle and the ground, it is evident that the large distance involved means that the received power is many orders of magnitude less than the transmitted power. The vehicle is continuously visible at its ground control station, and this enables its health to be monitored continuously and reduces the need for it to be autonomous or to have a complex data handling/storage system.

Low Earth orbit (LEO) missions are altogether different. Communication with such craft is more complex as a result of the intermittent nature of ground station passes. This resulted in the development, in the early 1980s, of a new type of spacecraft—the tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRSS)—operating in GEO to provide a link between craft in LEO and a ground centre. This development was particularly important because the Shuttle in LEO required a continuous link with the ground. More generally, the proximity of LEO satellites to the ground does make them an attractive solution for the provision of mobile communications. The power can be reduced and the time delay caused by the finite speed of electromagnetic radiation does not produce the latency problems encountered using a geostationary satellite.

The power subsystem is also notably different when comparing LEO and GEO satellites. A dominant feature is the relative period spent in sunlight and eclipse in these orbits. LEO is characterized by a high fraction of the orbit being spent in eclipse, and hence a need for substantial oversizing of the solar array to meet battery-charging requirements. In GEO, on the other hand, a long time (up to 72 min) spent in eclipse at certain times of the year leads to deep discharge requirements on the battery, although the eclipse itself is only a small fraction of the total orbit period. Additional differences in the power system are also partly due to the changing solar aspect angle to the orbit plane during the course of the year. This may be offset, however, in the case of the sun-synchronous orbit (see Section 5.4 of Chapter 5), which maintains a near-constant aspect angle—this is not normally done for the benefit of the spacecraft bus designer, but rather because it enables instruments viewing the ground to make measurements at the same local time each day.

It soon becomes clear that changes of mission parameters of almost any type have potentially large effects upon the specifications for the subsystems that comprise and support a spacecraft.

1.2 A System View of Spacecraft

This book is concerned with spacecraft systems. The variety of types and shapes of these systems is extremely wide. When considering spacecraft, it is convenient to subdivide them into functional elements or subsystems. But it is also important to recognize that the satellite itself is only an element within a larger system. There must be a supporting ground control system (Figure 1.1) that enables commands to be sent up to the vehicle and status and payload information to be returned to the ground. There must also be a launcher system that sets the vehicle on its way to its final orbit. Each of the elements of the overall system must interact with the other elements, and it is the job of the system designer to achieve an overall optimum in which the mission objectives are realized efficiently. It is, for example, usual for the final orbit of a geostationary satellite to be achieved by a combination of a launch vehicle and the boost motor of the satellite itself.

Figure 1.1 The total system—the combined space and ground segments

This starts us towards the overall process of systems engineering, which will be treated in detail in the final chapter of this book. Figure 1.1 shows the breakdown of the elements needed to form a satellite mission. Each of these may be considered to perform functions that will have functional requirements associated with them. We can thus have an overriding set of mission requirements that will arise from the objectives of the mission itself. In the process of systems engineering, we are addressing the way in which these functional requirements can best be met, in a methodical manner.

Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary provides the following very apt definition of the term ‘system engineering’ as used in the space field:

‘A logical process of activities that transforms a set of requirements arising from a specific mission objective into a full description of a system which fulfils the objective in an optimum way. It ensures that all aspects of a project have been considered and integrated into a consistent whole.’

The ‘system’ in question here could comprise all the elements within both the space and the ground segments of a spacecraft project, including the interfaces between the major elements, as illustrated in Figure 1.1. Alternatively, the system approach could be applied on a more limited basis to an assembly within the space segment, such as an instrument within the payload. In the case of an instrument, the system breakdown would include antenna elements or optics and detectors as appropriate, and the instrument's mechanical and electrical subsystems.

The mission objectives are imposed on the system by the customer, or user of the data. They are statements of the aims of the mission, are qualitative in nature and should be general enough to remain virtually unchanged during the design process. It is these fundamental objectives that must be fulfilled as the design evolves.

For example, the mission objectives might be to provide secure and robust three-dimensional position and velocity determination to surface and airborne military users. The Global Positioning System(GPS) is a method adopted to meet these objectives.

An illustration of the range of methods and the subsequent requirements that can stem from mission objectives is given by the large number of different concepts that have been proposed to meet the objective of providing a worldwide mobile communication system. They range from an extension of the existing Inmarsat spacecraft system to schemes using highly eccentric and tundra orbits (see Chapter 5 for the definitions of these), to a variety of concepts based around a network of LEO satellites, such as The Globalstar or Iridium constellations.

This example demonstrates an underlying principle of system engineering, that is, that there is never only one solution to meet the objectives. There will be a diverse range of solutions, some better and some worse, based on an objective discriminating parameter such as cost, mass or some measure of system performance. The problem for the system engineer is to balance all these disparate assessments into a single solution.

The process that the system engineer first undertakes is to define, as a result of the mission objectives, the mission requirements. The subsequent requirements on the system and subsystems evolve from these initial objectives through the design process. This is illustrated in Figure 1.2, which shows how a hierarchy of requirements is established. In Chapter 20 this hierarchy is further explained and illustrated by considering a number of specific spacecraft in detail. At this point, however, it is important to note the double-headed arrows in Figure 1.2. These indicate the feedback and iterative nature of system engineering.

Figure 1.2 Objectives and requirements of a spacecraft mission

We turn now to the spacecraft system itself. This may be divided conveniently into two principal elements, the payload and the bus (or service module). It is of course the payload that is the motivation for the mission itself. In order that this may function it requires certain resources that will be provided by the bus. In particular, it is possible to identify the functional requirements, which include:

1. The payload must be pointed in the correct direction.

2. The payload must be operable.

3. The data from the payload must be communicated to the ground.

4. The desired orbit for the mission must be maintained.