Postdoc Yuanhao Li came up with some interesting orbit designs during his study for ESA into new concepts for miniature radar altimeter constellations. In this post we show two examples of constellation orbits that were optimized according to specific requirements.
In the first example the goal was to extend a single altimeter track to a swath observing altimeter constellation. To broaden the swath a comb constellation of 5 altimeters is proposed. The video shows how a simultaneous wide swath observation is created, allowing to investigate small scale oceanographic features. Note how the tracks change position over the poles and are wider separated near the equator.
In the second example the goal was to realize very short revisit times (much less than 24 hours). This is achieved by satellites in various orbits, such that an observation of a spot on the earth is followed by a second observation from a different orbit. Note that in each orbit also multiple satellites are present, in order to have a repetition of the short revisit observation each day.