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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 152683, 14 pages
Research Article

Indirect Optimization of Satellite Deployment into a Highly Elliptic Orbit

1Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
2Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, Sapienza Università di Roma, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Roma, Italy

Received 1 November 2011; Revised 1 March 2012; Accepted 19 March 2012

Academic Editor: C. B. Allen

Copyright © 2012 Francesco Simeoni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The analysis of the optimal strategies for the deployment of a spacecraft into a highly elliptic orbit is carried out by means of an indirect optimization procedure, which is based on the theory of optimal control. The orbit peculiarities require that several perturbations are taken into account: an 8 × 8 model of the Earth potential is adopted and gravitational perturbations from Moon and Sun together with solar radiation pressure are considered. A procedure to guarantee convergence and define the optimal switching structure is outlined. Results concerning missions with up to 4.5 revolutions around the Earth are given, and significant features of this kind of deployment are highlighted.