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The present paper deals with the study of equilibrium positions of the motion of a system of two artificial satellites connected by a light, flexible, inextensible and non-conducting cable under the influence of solar radiation pressure, earth’s oblateness, shadow of the earth and air resistance. Here, we study the case of circular orbit of the centre of mass of the system. We derive differential equations of motion of the system. General solutions of the differential equations are beyond the reach. On the other hand, the general solutions do not serve our purpose. Jacobian integral of the system has also been obtained. Thereafter equilibrium positions of the motion of the system have been obtained.

We study the equilibrium positions of the motion of a system of two cable-connected artificial satellites under the influence of solar radiation pressure, earth’s oblateness, shadow of the earth and air resistance. The influence of the above mentioned perturbations on the system has been studied singly and by a combination of any two or three of them by various workers, but never conjointly all at a time. Therefore, these could not give a real picture of motion of the system. This fact has initiated the present research work. The case of circular orbit of the centre of mass of the system is discussed. Shadow of the earth is taken to be cylindrical and the system is allowed to pass through the shadow beam. The satellites are connected by a light, flexible, inextensible and non-conducting cable. The satellites are taken as material particles. Since masses of the satellites are small and distances between the satellites and other celestial bodies are very large, the gravitational forces of attraction between the satellites and other celestial bodies including the sun have been neglected.

The present work is an attempt towards the generalization of work done by Beletsky and Novikova [

We write the equations of motion of one of the satellites when the centre of mass moves along Keplarian elliptical orbit in Nechvile’s co-ordinate system [

And

With the condition of constraint

Also,

m_{1} and m_{2} are masses of the two satellites. B_{1} and B_{2} are the absolute values of the forces due to the direct solar pressure on m_{1} and m_{2} respectively and are small. p is the focal parameter. m is the product of mass of the earth and gravitational constant. l is undermined Lagrange’s multiplier. _{R} is the earth’s oblateness. _{1} and m_{2} with the orbital plane of the centre of mass of the system. a is the inclination of the ray. γ is a shadow function which depends on the illumination of the system of satellites by the sun rays. If γ is equal to zero, then the system is affected by the shadow of the earth. If γ is equal to one, then the system is not within the said shadow. _{1} and c_{2} are the Ballistic coefficients.

If motion of one of the satellites m_{1} be determined with the help of equations (2.1), motion of the other satellite of mass m_{2} can be determined by Prasad and Kumar [

where,

In the case of circular orbit, we put

And

With the condition of constraint

In the case of loose string, we see that_{1} moves inside the circle

The system of two satellites is allowed to pass through the shadow beam during its motion. Let us assume that

Next, the small secular and long periodic effects of the solar pressure together with the effects of the earth’s shadow on the system may be analysed by averaging the periodic terms in (2.5) with respect to

Thus after averaging the periodic terms of (2.5) we write the equations (2.5) as

And

For the case of loose string, we use

And

These equations do not contain the time explicity. Therefore, Jacobian integral of the motion exists.

Multiplying the first and second equations of (2.9) by X' and Y' respectively, adding them and then integrating the final equation, we get the Jacobian integral in the form

The surface of zero velocity can be obtained in the form

We, therefore, conclude that satellite

We have obtained a set of equations (2.9) for motion of the system in the rotating frame of reference. It is assumed that the system is moving with the effective constraint and the connecting cable of the two satellites always remains tight.

The equilibrium positions of motion of the system are given by the constant values of the co-ordinates in the rotating frame of reference. Let us take

Putting (3.2) in the set of equations (2.9), we get

And

Actually it is very difficult to obtain the solution of (3.3). Hence, we are compelled to make our approaches with certain limitations. In addition to this, we are interested only in the case of the maximum effect of the earth’s shadow on motion of the system.

In the further investigation, we put

And

All the two equations of (3.4) are independent of each other.

With the help of the two equations of (3.4), we get the equilibrium position as

The equilibrium position has wide applications in solving problems of stability of a cable-connected satellites system in orbit. It will also state whether the motion of the system is continuous or not. We also write Jacobian integral of motion of the system. The work may be further modified, if wobbling and nutation of the orbit of the system are taken into account.

We acknowledge the support of Centre of Fundamental Research in Space Dynamics and Celestial Mechanics (CFRSC), Delhi. We are also thankful to Prof. R.K. Sharma from Thiruvanathapuram for his encouragement and support.

Santosh Kumar,Sangam Kumar, (2016) Equilibrium Positions of a Cable-Connected Satellites System under Several Influences. International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics,06,288-292. doi: 10.4236/ijaa.2016.63024