Effective scheduling of communication windows between orbiting spacecraft and ground stations is a crucial component of efficiently using spacecraft resources. In all but the most trivial cases, this forces the operator to choose a subset of the potentially available access windows such that they can achieve the best possible usage of their hardware and other resources.
This is a complex problem not normally solvable analytically, and as a result the standard approach is to apply heuristic algorithms which take an initial guess at a solution and improve upon it in order to increase its quality. Various such algorithms exist, with some being in common practice for this particular problem.
This thesis covers the application of several of the most commonly-used algorithms on a problem instance. Additionally, a real-world problem instance is used, and the resultant practical constraints are addressed when applying the heuristics and fine-tuning them for this application.