Projects per year
The DISCOVERER project, which commenced in 2017, is addressing the following key questions about technologies that would enable the commercially viable and sustained operation of satellites in VLEO:
1. Are there materials or processes which reduce the induced drag on spacecraft surfaces?
2. Are there propulsion methods which use the residual atmospheric gas as a propellant, providing drag
compensation whilst removing the lifetime limits caused by carrying a limited amount of propellant?
3. How can we improve our understanding of, and make best use of, the orbital aerodynamics of a space
platform and its ability to perform attitude control manoeuvres?
4. And what are the new opportunities that these technologies may bring to the market?
This paper provides highlights from the developments made during the DISCOVERER project to date, demonstrating the potential for a new, commercially attractive, class of aerodynamic satellites operating in VLEO.
Keywords: Orbital Aerodynamics; Very Low Earth Orbit; Remote Sensing; Earth Observation; Satellite
|Title of host publication
|72nd International Astronautical Congress
|Accepted/In press - 28 Oct 2021