Lunar Relay Coverage Analysis for RF and Optical Links

Kar-Ming Cheung, Charles Lee 2018

link:: doi:: 10.2514/6.2018-2612


This paper describes our effort in searching different lunar relay architectures and assessing their coverage performance and other pros and cons for RF and optical links. Regarding RF links, we considered three notional lunar relay architectures, all communicating with the three sites of the Deep Space Network (DSN): Goldstone, California; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain: 1) A constellation of three relay orbiters: two at the Polar frozen elliptical orbits, and one at an equatorial circular orbit. 2) One relay orbiter in a 74-day Lissajous orbit at Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2. 3) One relay orbiter in a 14-day Lunar distance retrograde orbit. Regarding optical link, we considered a notional multi-hop relay architecture that consists of one relay orbiter in a 74-day Lissajous orbit at Earth-Moon L2 (as in architecture #2 in the RF case), three Near-Earth relay satellites in geosynchronous orbit at longitudes 187° E, 110° E, and 347° E, and three ground stations at White Sands (US), Guam (US), and Tenerife (Spain). We introduce the additional constraints of Sun-“Earth”- Probe (SEP) angle for return links, and Sun-Probe-“Earth” (SPE) angle for forward links. SPE and SPE angles determine the amount of sunlight (noise) that goes into the detector of the telescope, thus affecting the capacity of an optical link.