Satellite Coverage Probabilities

by Barry W. Boehm

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A method for calculating the average number of times a satellite's ground track comes within a specified distance of a point on earth during a given time interval. Numerical results are given for several typical cases. The method is applicable to the critical side-range problem in satellite interception or rendezvous, to the ejection of objects from orbit to points on earth, and to observation and communication satellites. The author indicates the uses of coverage probabilities in other studies of satellite systems (e.g., determining the probability that at least one of a number of randomly oriented satellites is able to communicate with a point on earth, or evaluating possible operational inclinations of a satellite orbit relative to ground-system coverage).

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