Concept

Orbital station-keeping

Résumé
In astrodynamics, orbital station-keeping is keeping a spacecraft at a fixed distance from another spacecraft or celestial body. It requires a series of orbital maneuvers made with thruster burns to keep the active craft in the same orbit as its target. For many low Earth orbit satellites, the effects of non-Keplerian forces, i.e. the deviations of the gravitational force of the Earth from that of a homogeneous sphere, gravitational forces from Sun/Moon, solar radiation pressure and air drag, must be counteracted. The deviation of Earth's gravity field from that of a homogeneous sphere and gravitational forces from the Sun and Moon will in general perturb the orbital plane. For a sun-synchronous orbit, the precession of the orbital plane caused by the oblateness of the Earth is a desirable feature that is part of mission design but the inclination change caused by the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon is undesirable. For geostationary spacecraft, the inclination change caused
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