Control strategy for along-track formation flight to achieve virtual telescope in low earth orbit


Shima T. 1*, Yamada K. 2**, Yoshikawa S. 1***

1. Mitsubishi Electric Co, Japan
2. Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan



Future space missions such as virtual telescopes and interferometers require precision formation flying, i.e., a highly precise control of the relative positions of spacecrafts. This paper discusses a strategy to suppress the relative position variation during one orbit. It proposes a new approach to design a state feedback impulsive controller. By estimating the disturbance fr om the result of the previous control cycle and compensating for the estimated disturbance in a feed-forward manner, stable control can be achieved under uncertainties of natural disturbances. An along-track formation control in a low earth orbit is taken as an example, wh ere the J2 term and air drag are considered as representative natural disturbances. Numerical simulations are performed to validate the proposed controller.

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