3Satellite Launch and In-orbit Operations

Fundamental issues such as laws governing motion of artificial satellites around Earth, different orbital parameters, types of orbits and their suitability for a given application, and so on, related to orbital dynamics were addressed in the previous chapter. The next obvious step is to understand the launch requirements to acquire the desired orbit. This should then lead to various in-orbit operations such as orbit stabilization, orbit correction and station keeping that are necessary for keeping the satellite in the desired orbit. Launch vehicles and launch sites play an important role in launching satellites and subsequently controlling their operation in orbit. The present chapter will address all these issues, including a detailed description of major launch vehicle systems and space centres, and also other related issues like Earth coverage, eclipses and pointing towards a given satellite from Earth. Again the chapter is amply illustrated with mathematics wherever necessary and a large number of solved problems.

3.1 Acquiring the Desired Orbit

In order to ensure that the satellite acquires the desired orbit, that is the orbit with desired values of orbital elements/parameters such as orbital plane, apogee and perigee distances, and so on, it is important that correct conditions are established at the satellite injection point. For instance, in order to ensure that the satellite orbits within a given plane, the satellite must be ...

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