Publication:
A framework for designing optimal spacecraft formations

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Authors
King, Jeffery T.
Subjects
Satellite Formation
Formation Design
Optimal Design
DIDO
Swarm;
Advisors
Ross, I. Michael
Date of Issue
2002-09
Date
September 2002
Publisher
Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This thesis presents a new approach to solving a class of problems arising in the design of satellite swarms. Using the fundamentals of optimal control theory, a framework is developed that captures the essence of "concurrent" design and control of spacecraft formations. This framework is used to articulate a variety of formations including the notion of an aperiodic formation. Additionally, formations that require active control are presented along with their corresponding thrust profile. Based on a deliberate problem formulation, which includes mass as a state variable, it is shown that the numerical approach easily handles nonlinearities. Using the general-purpose dynamic optimization software, DIDO, this thesis demonstrates how a minimum-propellant formation configuration can be easily designed for satellite swarms without the use of any analytical results. If a zero-propellant configuration does not exist, then this method automatically determines the minimum fuel and the associated controls required to maintain the configuration. This thesis lends credence to the notion of numerically searching for minimum-fuel formation configurations for spacecraft swarms subject to arbitrary nonlinear dynamics. Thus, practical formations may be designed and controlled using this method.
Type
Description
Series/Report No
Department
Aeronautics and Astronautics
Other Units
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
Sponsors
Funder
Format
xviii, 77 p. : ill. .
Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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