Matryoshka Orbital Networks

Gribben, J. and Clark, R. and Lowe, C. and Macdonald, M. (2023) Matryoshka Orbital Networks. In: 74th International Astronautical Congress, 2023-10-02 - 2023-10-06, Heydar Aliyev Centre.

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This paper introduces the concept of Matryoshka Orbital Networks (MatrON), an abstraction of the orbital environment in which satellites and terrestrial targets (sources and sinks) are modelled as network nodes traversing a series of rotating, nested surfaces (shells). With Earth’s surface the inner-most shell, the abstracted model is reminiscent of Matryoshka, or nesting dolls. This allows for interactions between nodes to be modelled on a surface rather than 3-D space. In this way, data can be more easily gathered on the topology of the entire MatrON network, particularly unseen opportunities for interaction between spacecraft of differing constellations. These insights enable optimising operations of new and existing constellations in the network structure which can lead to improvement of contact scheduling, mission planning, and general service delivery. Further analysis at the scale of the entire MatrON system can reveal interactions between each integrated system, thereby revealing opportunities to share benefits between interacting systems of different capability and/or operated by different stakeholders.