SEE Expertise: Flight Dynamics & Operations

We plan orbit maneuvers, and calibrate engines. We perform orbit determination and collision avoidance operations. We plan attitude profiles to meet communication and navigation needs.

Our team has performed flight dynamics pre-launch analysis and operations for dozens of spacecraft. We have been responsible for standing up and implementing a flight dynamics capability in several organizations, and worked closely with the other operational elements in preparation for launch. We have presented at (and been reviewers for) formal program reviews, and have seen missions through from beginning to end.

We have been on console for launch, early orbit & commissioning, and, transfer orbit operations, routine and science operations, and end-of-life disposal.

We have experience in the details of operational maneuver planning and recovery, including calibrating the propulsion system in preparation for subsequent maneuvers.

We’ve tracked spacecraft, including for initial orbit determination (IOD) right after launch, transfer orbit estimation, and routine mission orbit determination. As part of this we’ve calibrated tracking systems and estimated large and small maneuvers.

As part of flight dynamics operations we have generated operational products, supporting other internal operational groups as well as external groups, such as system users and scientists. We have generated ground station acquisition data, and other supporting data sets.

We have performed attitude planning, ensuring that communications, attitude sensor, and power requirements are met, while accounting for sensor obstruction, payload constraints, and maneuver pointing requirements.

We also have designed operational space situational awareness (SSA) systems, monitoring potential conjunctions and performing collision avoidance (COLA) maneuvers when the probability of collision exceeds the safety threshold.

In addition, we have designed flight dynamics algorithms and software to support these operations, supporting the entire mission life cycle: from operations concept and requirements development; through implementation, integration, and testing; to operations and maintenance.

Our team has supported missions in low-Earth, geostationary, cislunar, and lunar orbits. We’ve designed and built operational systems for these orbit regimes, as well as for rendezvous, proximity operations, libration-point, interplanetary, and around other planets.

OUR OTHER AREAS OF EXPERTISE

SATELLITE MISSION ANALYSIS

We model mission orbits and geometry. We perform trade-off and statistical analysis. We develop and validate mission requirements.

TECHNICAL DUE DILIGENCE & REVIEWS

We investigate the feasibility of proposed solutions, and identify gaps. We compare plans with current technology, evaluate development timelines. We investigate dependencies and illuminate risks.

ASTROGATION

We design trajectories to meet mission needs, and develop launch windows and propellant budgets. We analyze tracking systems and perform error analysis, calculating how well the orbits will be known during operations.

MISSION CONCEPTS & PLANNING

We help develop realistic plans to accomplish the goals of the mission within the technical and budget constraints. We can validate assumptions, and propose alternatives to overcome obstacles.