A near-optimal guidance for cooperative docking maneuvers
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In this work we study the problem of minimum energy docking maneuvers between two Floating Spacecraft Simulators. The maneuvers are planar and conducted autonomously in a cooperative mode. The proposed guidance strategy is based on the direct method known as Inverse Dynamics in the Virtual Domain, and the nonlinear programming solver known as Sequential Gradient-Restoration Algorithm. The combination of these methods allows for the quick prototyping of near-optimal trajectories, and results in an implementable tool for real-time closed-loop maneuvering. The experimental results included in this paper were obtained by exploiting the recently upgraded Floating Spacecraft-Simulator Testbed of the Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory at the Naval Postgraduate School. A direct performances comparison, in terms of maneuver energy and propellant mass, between the proposed guidance strategy and a LQR controller, demonstrates the effectiveness of the method.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.01.002