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Optimal many-revolution geostationary orbit transfers with full available solar power usage and account for solar cell radiation degradation
Alexander Starchenko

Last modified: 2023-06-29


The electric orbit-raising problem with account for radiation degradation of solar cells is considered. The all-electric spacecraft moves from initial elliptical inclined orbit to geostationary orbit (GEO) with help of electric propulsion system (EPS) only. The transfer involves repeated passages of the Van Allen radiation belts. Harsh environment of the radiation belts leads to significant degradation of spacecraft’s solar cells degradation and constant decrease of onboard available power. In order to run EPS constantly during orbit-raising one could apply different strategies. One of possible methods is to use an EPS which could operate at different input power levels and use all available power excluding service needs for EPS. In this paper we consider trajectory optimization problem for solar cells degradation minimization with fixed initial and final orbits and account for EPS thrust decrease due to solar cell power degradation in radiation belts. The Pontryagin's maximum principle and the numerical continuation method are used to find a solution to the problem. The study was funded by Russian Science Foundation (project 16-19-10429).