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Sun-synchronous highly elliptical orbits using low-thrust propulsion

Anderson, Pamela and Macdonald, Malcolm (2013) Sun-synchronous highly elliptical orbits using low-thrust propulsion. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 36 (6). pp. 1849-1855. ISSN 1533-3884

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Due to restrictions within the current architecture of the global observing system (GOS), space-based remote sensing of Earth suffers from an acute data-deficit over the critical polar-regions. Currently, observation of high-latitude regions is conducted using composite images from spacecraft in geostationary (GEO) and low-Earth orbits (LEOs) [1]. However, the oblique viewing geometry from GEO-based systems to latitudes above around 55 deg [2] and the insufficient temporal resolution of spacecraft in LEO means there is currently no source of continuous imagery for polar-regions obtained with a data refresh rate of less than 15 minutes, as is typically available elsewhere for meteorological observations.