Earth observation satellites are platforms equipped with optical instruments that orbit the Earth in order to take photographs of specific areas at the request of users. This article is concerned with the management of several satellites performing multiple orbits over a given planning horizon. It describes a tabu search heuristic for the problem of selecting and scheduling the requests to be satisfied, under operational constraints. An upper bounding procedure based on column generation is used to evaluate the quality of the solutions. The results of extensive computational experiments performed on data provided by the French Centre National d’Études Spatiales are reported.
Published May 2005 , 21 pages