Quasicircular ground tracks for geosynchronous earth satellites
Abstract
A set of sufficient conditions on the Keplerian elements of a geosynchronous (24 h) earth satellite to produce a nearcircular ground track on the rotating planet is derived. Once the required semimajor axis of the orbit and argument of perigee are found, a simple relationship between the eccentricity and the inclination of the orbital plane to the equatorial plane is obtained. The equation of the ground track is obtained. An analysis of the deviations of the ground tracks from circles is made using the root mean square error, the mean absolute error, and the area between the ground track and a circle. It was found that the first two tend to zero faster than does the quasiradius of the ground track (the inclination), while the area tends to zero faster than the square of quasiradius. Since the number of positions for satellites in geosynchronous orbit is limited, placing them in orbits that produce nearcircular ground tracks centered over the equator can greatly increase the capacity.
 Publication:

Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
 Pub Date:
 April 1986
 DOI:
 10.2514/3.25800
 Bibcode:
 1986JSpRo..23..144C
 Keywords:

 Geosynchronous Orbits;
 Orbital Elements;
 Satellite Ground Tracks;
 Synchronous Satellites;
 Circular Orbits;
 Error Analysis;
 Astrodynamics