Eclipse duration refers to the period during a satellite’s orbital journey when it passes through the Earth’s shadow, causing it to be momentarily devoid of direct sunlight. As the satellite moves along its orbit, there are specific segments when it enters the Earth’s shadow region, resulting in temporary darkness. During these eclipse periods, the satellite relies solely on its onboard power reserves or non-solar power sources to maintain its essential functions.
The impact of eclipse duration on a satellite is two-fold, primarily influencing power generation and thermal conditions. Solar panels, an essential component of most satellites, serve as the primary source of power by harnessing energy from the Sun. When a satellite enters an eclipse, the solar panels are unable to receive sunlight, leading to a temporary reduction in power generation. This loss of solar energy can affect the satellite’s operations, as it must rely on stored battery power during this phase.
Properly managing the eclipse duration is crucial for satellite designers and operators to ensure a continuous power supply throughout the satellite’s orbit. By optimising the satellite’s power system, including battery capacity and charging cycles, engineers can mitigate the effects of eclipses and ensure uninterrupted operation during these periods of darkness.