Dynamic air-bearing hardware-in-the-loop testbed to experimentally evaluate autonomous spacecraft proximity maneuvers
Zappulla, Richard II
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Ground-based testbeds are critical to develop and test different elements of spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control subsystems. This paper provides an in-detail description of a state-of-the-art air-bearing testbed used to develop guidance, navigation, and control methods for close-proximity operations. Test vehicles, representing spacecraft, float via air bearings over a horizontally leveled granite monolith and move with two translational degrees of freedom and one rotational degree of freedom under the effect of thrusters and reaction wheel actuators. This setup achieves a quasi-frictionless and low residual acceleration dynamic environment. The testbed experimental setup as well as the vehicle hardware and software architectures are discussed in detail. Characterization of different testbed elements is provided. Finally, a test campaign is used to showcase its capabilities and to illustrate the testbed operations.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.2514/1.A33769
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