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Most of the Low Earth-Orbiting (LEO) spacecraft experience eclipse when the spacecraft passes through the shadow side of the Earth. As the spacecraft is eclipsed, space scientists and engineers express their interest in various objectives such as the shadow entrance and exit timings, the Sun-satellite geometry etc. The shadow information of a satellite is very useful for various utilizations, e.g., spacecraft thermal control, solar panel power, attitude control, and celestial viewing conditions. This paper describes an Earth cylindrical shadow model for the LEO spacecraft. The model is simulated to arbitrarily chosen three Indian remote sensing (IRS) satellites; Cartosat-2A, Resourcesat-2, Oceansat-2 and is compared well with the real time data. The accuracy of the developed model is also carried out in terms of 3 sigma estimation.

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Technical Note

application to IRS satellites

Prakash Shiggavia*, Hemalata M.G.b

a

ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore- 560058, India

(Received: 24 December 2015; accepted 29 December 2015; published online 30 December 2015)

ABSTRACT

Most of the Low Earth-Orbiting (LEO) spacecraft experience eclipse when the spacecraft

passes through the shadow side of the Earth. As the spacecraft is eclipsed, space scientists and

engineers express their interest in various objectives such as the shadow entrance and exit

timings, the Sun-satellite geometry etc. The shadow information of a satellite is very useful for

various utilizations, e.g., spacecraft thermal control, solar panel power, attitude control, and

celestial viewing conditions. This paper describes an Earth cylindrical shadow model for the

LEO spacecraft. The model is simulated to arbitrarily chosen three Indian remote sensing (IRS)

satellites; Cartosat-2A, Resourcesat-2, Oceansat-2 and is compared well with the real time data.

The accuracy of the developed model is also carried out in terms of 3 estimation.

Keywords: Earth cylindrical shadow model; spacecraft position vector; Sun vector; eclipse

1. Introduction

It has been observed that almost most of the LEO satellites realize shadow when the

satellite goes to the anti-Sun side of the Earth. Apart from the occultation of the Sun by the

Earth, the Moon may also cast shadow on the spacecraft; however these events occur less

frequently because the Moon is constantly in motion with respect to the satellite orbit, unlike

Earth-eclipse case where the occulting body is fixed at the focus of the orbit [1]. Computation of

eclipse condition is generally applied for the Earth as the occulting body. The frequency and

*

2015 Author(s)

12

duration of eclipse periods is strongly dependent on orbital inclination and altitude [2] e.g. in a

low-altitude, equatorial orbit, the spacecraft resides in the Earths shadow for approximately 40%

of every orbit. For dawn-dusk sun-synchronous orbits, even at low altitude, several months of

wholly sunlit operation may be obtained. Satellite in highly elliptic orbits with relatively low

perigee altitudes will generally encounter eclipse periods when near the Earth. In Geostationary

Earth Orbit (GEO), a spacecraft spends most of its time in sunlight. The eclipse periods in this

case are short and depend on the season. In the period around the solstices, the operation is

eclipse free, whereas near the spring and autumn equinox the satellite-Sun vector is near the orbit

plane and eclipses are encountered with durations up to a maximum of 72 minutes. This is still, a

small fraction of the total orbit period of 24 hour. The calculation of the eclipse duration is

important from the point of view of the satellite design, e.g. if the satellites primary power

source is solar arrays, backed up by a battery storage system, then the sizing of the power

subsystem is strongly influenced by the length of the eclipse period. The knowledge of the

shadow passage timing for any given mission timeline has a significant effect on the on-orbit

thermal environment experienced by a satellite. The spacecraft are effectively powered by

sunlight, supported by batteries. Once a spacecraft disappears into shadow, then the systems for

orienting solar panels towards the Sun become, perhaps, slightly confused and start to hunt. At

the same time, orienting the spacecraft in their correct attitude towards the Earth is also to a

degree dependent on input from solar panel array orientation towards the Sun. Thus, while in

eclipse, not only is the spacecraft draining power while it continues to hunt for the Sun, it may

also be drifting slightly out of its correct orientation, thus introducing potential errors due to

offsets between the spacecrafts center of gravity and the electrical centers of its various

transmitting antenna [3].

Cylindrical shadow model has been investigated by many researchers e.g., Escobal [4]

developed cylindrical shadow model by finding two non-spurious roots of a quartic polynomial

in the cosine of the true anomaly which he solved in closed form by quadratic radicals, Vallado

[5] developed a cylindrical shadow model using Newton-Raphson numerical approximation

technique which involves the solution of quartic polynomial of the true anomaly. Recently,

Srivastava et al. [6] used a projection map method to predict the eclipse entry and exit conditions

for the IRS satellites considering the cylindrical shadow of the Earth.

In this paper, an Earth cylindrical shadow model has been described for LEO satellites,

assuming that satellite is orbiting the Earth in a circular orbit. The model is simulated to

arbitrarily chosen three IRS satellites; CAR-2A, RES-2 and OCN-2. The paper is designed as

follows; in Section 2, a brief introduction of the IRS satellites is provided. In Section 3, the

cylindrical shadow model is described. The application and comparison of the model with real

time data is presented in Section 4. A concluding discussion is given in Section 5.

13

In this section, we give a brief introduction of the IRS satellites: CAR-2A, RES-2 and

OCN-2. Cartosat-2A (CAR-2A) is a highly agile three-axis body stabilized polar sun

synchronous IRS satellite at an altitude of 630.5 km and inclination of 97.910 with a descending

node equatorial crossing at 09.30 AM local time and orbital period 97.3 min. It is an advanced

cartographic application IRS satellite providing better than 0.8m panchromatic imaging

capabilities using 2.5m camera and step and stare technique. Mission objective of CAR-2A is to

meet the ever increasing demands for cartographic applications at cadastral level, urban and rural

management, coastal land use and regulation, utilities mapping and development and other LIS

and GIS applications. The payload of CAR-2A is configured with independent chains of CCDs

and camera electronics. The two CCD arrays (each one is linear array of 12000 elements) are

located within the focal plane of single optics system consisting of two mirror RC type telescope,

three lenses, a window and a band pass filter. The camera is steerable by rotating the S/C body in

roll, which in turn increases the revisit capability. The S/C can be biased 450 in pitch, 260 in

roll and 600 in yaw to image the desired spot. In addition to spot imaging, the S/C has

capability to image in multi-view mode for stereoscopic applications and paint brush mode for

achieving wider swath coverage.

Resourcesat-2 (RES-2) is a polar sun synchronous IRS satellite at an altitude of 817 km

and inclination of 98.770 with a descending node equatorial crossing at 10.30 AM local time and

orbital period 101.35 min, with mission objective to carry out studies in advanced areas of user

applications like improved crop discrimination, crop yield, crop stress, pest/disease surveillance,

disaster management etc. the payload system of RES-2 consists of three optical remote sensing

cameras, viz., LISS-4, LISS-3 and AWiFS. LISS-4 provides 5.8 m resolution in three bands with

70 km swath (mono) and 23.3 km in the Mx mode, in addition, LISS-4 has 70 km Long Mx

mode of operations. LISS-3 provides 23.5 m spatial resolution in four bands with 140 km swath

and AWiFS camera provides with a spatial resolution of 56 m in four bands with 740 km swath.

Oceansat-2 (OCN-2), a polar sun synchronous IRS satellite at an altitude of 720 km and

inclination of 98.280 with a descending node equatorial crossing at 11.55 AM local time, with

orbital period 99.3 min, is designed with mission objective mainly for the oceanographic

applications. OCN-2 is placed in. It carries three payload instruments: Ocean Color Monitor

(OCM), Ku-band Wind Scatterometer (SCAT) and Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmospheric

studies (ROSA). ROSA payload is developed by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, Italy.

3. Cylindrical shadow model

In this section we describe a cylindrical shadow model using the well-known line of

intersection model [7-10]. Assume that the Sun is infinitely far from the Earth, so the light rays

are parallel, producing a cylindrical Earth shadow [11]. Fig. 1 shows the Earths shadow

14

cylindrical geometry in a plane, which is defined by the geo-center, the Sun vector r and the

spacecraft vector a . In the plane, rays of light starting at the Sun-edges and making tangents with

the Earth define the sunlight and eclipse regions, as shown in Fig. 2. The Sun vector r

computation [5] is described in the Appendix I.

The calculation of the intersection points are carried out using the three-dimensional

geometry, with the surface of the Earth being mathematically estimated by the equation of a

sphere

x2 y 2 z 2 R2 ,

(1)

where x,y,z are the coordinates of a point in space on the surface of the sphere in the ECI

frame and R is the equatorial radius of the Earth.

Assume that Line 1 and Line 2 refer as the line passing through the spacecraft to Sun-

b1 , b2 , b3 be the components of the vector b from the Sun-

position vector a from the geo-center,

edge 1 to the spacecraft and c1 , c2 , c3 be the components of the vector c from the Sun-edge 2 to

the spacecraft. Any point x,y,z on Line 1 satisfies the following equation

x a1 y a2 z a3

,

b1

b2

b3

(2)

15

x a1 y a2 z a3

,

c1

c2

c3

(3)

Assume S p denotes the unit vector orthogonal to the Sun vector from the geo-center. Further

suppose that the vectors rs1 and rs 2 define the lines from the geo-center to the Sun-edge 1 and the

Sun-edge 2 respectively, then we have

b a rs1 ,

.

c a rs 2 ,

(4)

The unit vector S p which lies in the plane and perpendicular to r , can be given as

Sp

r ri

S p

,

| Sp | | r r |

(5)

ri r a.

(6)

rs1 r R S p ,

.

rs 2 r R S p ,

(7)

From Eq. (2), Line 1 can be expressed as

b

y 2 x a1 a2 ,

b1

.

b3

z x a1 a3 ,

b1

Similarly, from Eq. (3), Line 2 can be expressed as

c

y 2 x a1 a2 ,

c1

.

c3

z x a1 a3 ,

c1

Combining Eqs. (1) and (8), we obtain the following relation for the Line 1

2

(9)

b

b

x 2 x a1 a2 3 x a1 a3 R2 .

b1

b1

2

(8)

(10)

(11)

16

A Line1 b12 b2 2 b32 ,

(12)

(13)

where

A Line2 c12 c2 2 c32 ,

(14)

The real solutions to the quadratic Eqs. (11) and (13) give the x-coordinates of the points of

intersection of the sphere and the Sun-edges 1 and 2 to the spacecraft line, respectively. Once the

values of x are obtained, we can get y and z values for Line 1 and Line 2, and thus we obtain the

17

coordinates of the points of intersection where these lines intersect the sphere. A real solution to

Eqs. (11) and (13) exists when the conditions

(15)

are satisfied. If the condition (15) is satisfied, an intersection takes place. A negative value of the

condition (15) has no physical meaning, but shows that no intersection occurs. Algorithm given

in Appendix II is used to predict the spacecrafts status whether it is in eclipse state or in full

phase (sunlit).

4. Applications

Knowing the Sun vector, r and the spacecraft position vector, a at a given epoch, it can be

easily predicted whether the spacecraft is in eclipse or sunlit state using the algorithm given in

Appendix II. The algorithm was simulated to the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites:

Cartosat-2A, Resourcesat-2 and Oceansat-2. State vectors of these satellites are given in

Srivastava et al. [6]. Tables 1, 2 and 3 show the comparison between eclipse entry and exit

timings for these IRS satellites using the developed model, the Earth cylindrical shadow model

(ECSM) using the projection map model described by Srivastava et al. [6] and the real time data.

It can be seen that eclipse entry and exit timings for these IRS satellites are very close to the real

time data, using the developed model. The time offsets between the eclipse entry and exit have

been computed with respect to the real time data and are shown in Table 4. Tables 5 and 6 give

this error estimation in terms of 3 accuracy, where is the standard deviation. In Tables 5 and

6, the mean and the standard deviations are calculated from the absolute values of the time

offsets. It can be observed that the proposed cylindrical shadow model is more accurate than the

ECSM model.

Table 1: CAR-2A eclipse entry and exit timing (hr: min: sec) between 0 UT on 2013/Jan/07 to 0 UT on

2013/Jan/08.

Orbit

Number

ECSM [6]

Developed Model

Entry

Exit

Entry

Exit

Entry

Exit

25343

---

00:16:22

---

00:16:33

---

00:16:40

25344

01:23:15

01:53:49

01:23:02

01:54:00

01:22:56

01:54:07

25345

03:00:41

03:31:16

03:00:27

03:31:27

03:00:22

03:31:33

25346

04:38:07

05:08:43

04:37:53

05:08:54

04:37:49

05:08:59

25347

06:15:32

06:46:10

06:15:19

06:46:21

06:15:15

06:46:26

25348

07:52:58

08:23:37

07:52:45

08:23:48

07:52:42

08:23:52

18

25349

09:30:24

10:01:04

09:30:11

10:01:15

09:30:08

10:01:18

25350

11:07:50

11:38:30

11:07:36

11:38:41

11:07:35

11:38:44

25351

12:45:15

13:15:57

12:45:02

13:16:08

12:45:01

13:16:11

25352

14:22:41

14:53:24

14:22:28

14:53:35

14:22:27

14:53:37

25353

16:00:07

16:30:51

16:59:54

16:31:02

15:59:54

16:31:03

25354

17:37:33

18:08:15

17:37:20

18:08:29

17:37:20

18:08:30

25355

19:14:59

19:45:45

19:14:46

19:45:56

19:14:47

19:45:56

25356

20:52:24

21:23:12

20:52:12

21:23:23

20:52:13

21:23:22

25357

22:29:50

23:00:39

22:29:37

23:00:49

22:29:40

23:00:49

Table 2: RES-2 eclipse entry and exit timing (hr: min: sec) between 0 UT on 2013/Jan/14 to 0 UT on 2013/Jan/15.

Orbit

Number

ECSM [6]

Developed Model

Entry

Exit

Entry

Exit

Entry

Exit

9019

-----

00:00:33

-----

00:00:45

-----

00:00:51

9020

01:09:00

01:41:54

01:09:01

01:42:06

01:08:56

01:42:11

9021

02:50:21

03:23:15

02:50:22

03:23:27

02:50:17

03:23:32

9022

04:31:41

05:04:37

04:31:43

05:04:48

04:31:38

05:04:53

9023

06:13:02

06:45:58

06:13:03

06:46:10

06:12:59

06:46:14

9024

07:54:23

08:27:19

07:54:24

08:27:31

07:54:19

08:27:34

9025

09:35:43

10:08:41

09:35:45

10:08:52

09:35:40

10:08:55

9026

11:17:04

11:50:02

11:17:05

11:50:14

11:17:01

11:50:16

9027

12:58:24

13:31:23

12:58:26

13:31:35

12:58:22

13:31:36

9028

14:39:45

15:12:45

14:39:47

15:12:56

14:39:42

15:12:57

9029

16:21:06

16:54:06

16:21:07

16:54:17

16:21:03

16:54:18

9030

18:02:27

18:35:27

18:02:28

18:35:39

18:02:24

18:35:39

9031

19:43:47

20:16:49

19:43:49

20:17:00

19:43:45

20:16:59

19

9032

21:25:08

21:58:10

21:25:10

21:58:21

21:25:06

21:58:20

9033

23:06:28

23:39:31

23:06:30

23:39:43

23:06:26

23:39:41

Table 3: OCN-2 eclipse entry and exit timing (hr: min: sec) between 0 UT on 2013/Jan/18 to 0 UT on 2013/Jan/19.

Orbit

Number

ECSM [6]

Developed Model

Entry

Exit

Entry

Exit

Entry

Exit

17585

------

00:20:44

-------

00:20:52

-------

00:20:59

17586

01:24:59

02:00:03

01:25:12

02:00:11

01:25:09

02:00:18

17587

03:04:17

03:39:21

03:04:30

03:39:29

03:04:27

03:39:36

17588

04:43:36

05:18:40

04:43:49

05:18:48

04:43:46

05:18:54

17589

06:22:55

06:57:59

06:23:07

06:58:07

06:23:04

06:58:13

17590

08:02:13

08:37:17

08:02:27

08:37:26

08:02:23

08:37:31

17591

09:41:31

10:16:36

09:41:45

10:16:44

09:41:41

10:16:50

17592

11:20:50

11:55:55

11:21:03

11:56:03

11:20:59

11:56:08

17593

13:00:08

13:35:13

13:00:22

13:35:22

13:00:18

13:35:27

17594

14:39:27

15:14:32

14:39:40

15:14:40

14:39:36

15:14:45

17595

16:18:45

16:53:51

16:18:59

16:53:59

16:18:55

16:54:03

17596

17:58:04

18:33:11

17:58:17

18:33:18

17:58:13

18:33:22

17597

19:37:23

20:12:28

19:37:36

20:12:36

19:37:32

20:12:40

17598

21:16:41

21:51:47

21:16:55

21:51:55

21:16:50

21:51:59

17599

22:56:00

23:31:06

22:56:13

23:31:14

22:56:09

23:31:17

5. Conclusions

In this study, a cylindrical shadow model is described to predict eclipse state for the low

Earth-orbiting eclipsing spacecraft, knowing the Sun vector and the spacecraft position vector at

a specific epoch. The model, which gives direct solutions for the eclipse state, is applied to the

IRS satellites: CAR-2A, RES-2, and OCN-2. The comparative study shows the developed model

20

is very effective and efficient cylindrical shadow model for the orbit prediction and satellite

operations for the LEO satellites.

CAR-2A

ECSM [6]

RES-2

Developed

model

ECSM [6]

OCN-2

Developed

model

ECSM [6]

Developed

model

Entry

(sec)

Exit

(sec)

Entry

(sec)

Exit

(sec)

Entry

(sec)

Exit

(sec)

Entry

(sec)

Exit

(sec)

Entry

(sec)

Exit

(sec)

Entry

(sec)

Exit

(sec)

-3

-1

-1

-3

-1

-1

-3

-1

-1

-1

-3

-1

-3

-1

-1

-3

-1

-3

-2

-3

-2

-3

-3

-3

-3

-3

-4

-3

-1

-3

-3

-1

-4

-3

-4

----

---

-1

---

---

----

----

----

----

----

21

Table 5: Error estimation of the ECSM model for the IRS satellites.

Error

Estimation

CAR-2A

RES-2

OCN-2

Entry (sec)

Exit (sec)

Entry(sec)

Exit (sec)

Entry (sec)

Exit (sec)

14.786

13.929

3.0

13.733

9.643

13.143

2.756

2.404

0.756

2.620

0.610

1.301

6.517

6.716

0.732

5.875

7.812

9.238

23.054

21.141

5.268

21.592

11.474

17.047

Mean

Table 6: Error estimation of the developed model for the IRS satellites.

Error

Estimation

CAR-2A

RES-2

OCN-2

Entry (sec)

Exit (sec)

Entry(sec)

Exit (sec)

Entry (sec)

Exit (sec)

2.357

2.929

4.429

2.667

3.786

5.143

1.836

2.153

0.495

1.850

0.558

1.245

-3.152

-3.532

2.944

-2.883

2.112

1.407

7.866

9.389

5.913

8.216

5.459

8.879

Mean

Nomenclature

R : Radius of the photosphere

a : Spacecraft position vector

r : Sun vector from the geo-center

a1 , a2 , a3 : Components of S/C position vector a

b : Vector joining the Sun-edge 1 to S/C

c : Vector joining the Sun-edge 2 to S/C

22

rs1 : Vector representing the line from the geo-center to Sun-edge 1

S : Unit vector orthogonal to r in the S/C, Earth and Sun centers plane

p

ALine1 , BLine1 , CLine1 : Coefficients of the intersection point between Line 1 with the sphere

ALine2 , BLine2 , CLine2 : Coefficients of the intersection point between Line 2 with the sphere

: Distance between the Sun and S/C

_s/c

_ int_ Line1

_ int_ Line 2

To compute the Sun vector, r the following scheme, stated stepwise, is carried out.

Step (I): compute the Julian Date, JD using the formula

7

month 9

JD year ,month ,date ,hour ,min,sec 367( year ) Int year Int

12

4

sec 60 min 60 hour .

275 month

Int

date 17210135

9

24 60

Step (II): compute the Julian centuries, TUT 1 from the epoch UT1using TUT 1

JDUT 1 2451545.0

.

36525

Step (III): compute the Mean longitude, M _ sun of the Sun using the relation

Step (IV): assume TTDB TUT 1.

Step (V): compute the Obliquity of the ecliptic, using the relation

24.439291 0.0130042 TUDB .

Step (VI): compute the Mean anomaly, M a _ sun for the Sun using the relation

Step (VII): compute the Ecliptic longitude, ecli _ sun of the Sun by

Step (VIII): compute the Ecliptic latitude, ecli _ sun of the Sun, which is given as ecli _ sun 0.

Step (X): compute the Magnitude, | r | of the position vector, r (in AU) from the Earth to

Sun, by the relation

23

r | r | cos cos ecli _ sun sin ecli _ sun sin sin ecli _ sun .

sin cos ecli _ sun sin ecli _ sun cos sin ecli _ sun

To predict whether satellite is in sunlit or eclipse region, the following steps are carried out.

Step (I): compute the Sun vector, r .

Step (II): compute the Spacecraft(S/C) position vector, a at the epoch.

Step (III): compute the distance, d _ s / c between the Sun and S/C.

Step (IV): compute vectors b and c from the Sun-edge 1 and Sun-edge 2 to S/C.

Step (V): find the coefficients ALine1 , BLine1 , CLine1 and

Step (VI): test whether Line 1 or Line 2 intersects the Earth or not, if an intersection takes place,

compute:

a) distance, d

_ int_ Line1

b) distance, d _ int_ Line 2 between Sun and point of intersection of Line 2, joining Sun

edge 2 and Spacecraft line.

Step (VII): if an intersection occurs and d

_s/c

_ int_ Line1

or d

_s/c

_int_ Line 2

=>S/C is either

a) if both lines intersect the Earth and d

_s/c

_ int_ Line1

and d

_s/c

_int_ Line 2

=>

b) else S/C is in sunlit state.

Step (VIII): otherwise S/C is in sunlit state.

References

[1]

[2]

[3]

S.W. Evans, Eclipses by the Earth and by the Moon as constraints on the AXAF Mission, AAS, 98-170,

1998.

P. Fortescue, J. Stark, G. Swinerd, Spacecraft Systems Engineering, Wiley Publishing, 3rd edition, 2003.

G. Preiss, V. Zubinaite, Analysis of the effect of Earth shadowing on GNSS Satellite

Orbits,

Environmental Engineering, the 8th International Conference, May 19-20, 2011, Lithuania.

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[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

D. Vallado, Fundamental of Astrodynamics and Applications, 4th Edition, Microcosm, CA, 2013.

V.K. Srivastava, Ashutosh, M. Pitchaimani, B.S. Chandrasekhar, Eclipse Prediction Methods for LEO

satellites with Cylindrical and Cone geometries: A Comparative study of ECSM and ESCM to IRS

satellites, Astronomy and Computing, Elsevier, 2, 11-17, 2013.

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Spherical and Oblate Earth Conical Shadow Models for LEO Satellites: Applications and comparisons

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2014.

V.K. Srivastava, J. Kumar, S. Kulshrestha, A. Srivastava, M.K. Bhaskar, B.S. Kushvah, P. Shiggavi, D.

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