Fundamentals of the route theory for satellite constellation design for Earth discontinuous coverage. Part 1: Analytic emulation of the Earth coverage
This paper opens a series of articles expounding the fundamentals of the route theory for satellite constellation design for Earth discontinuous coverage. In Part 1 of the series the analytical model for Earth coverage by satellites' swath conforming to the essential of discontinuous coverage, in contrast to continuous coverage, is presented. The analytic relations are consecutively derived for calculation of single- and multi-satellite Earth surface latitude coverage as well as for generating full set of typical satellite visibility zone time streams realized in the repeating latitude coverage pattern for given arbitrary satellite constellation. The analytic relations mentioned are used for developing the method for analysis of discontinuous coverage of fixed arbitrary Earth region for given satellite constellation using both deterministic and stochastic approaches. The method provides analysis of the revisit time for given satellite constellation, as a result of high speed (fractions of a second or seconds) computer calculations in a wide range of possible revisit time variations for different practical purposes with high accuracy which is at least on par with that provided by known numerical simulating methods based on direct modeling of the satellite observation mission, or in a number of cases is even superior to it. (C) 2016 IAA. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.