A framework for designing optimal spacecraft formations
King, Jeffery T.
Ross, I. Michael
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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.
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Infeld, Samantha I.; Josselyn, Scott B.; Murray, Walter; Ross, Michael I. (The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 2004-08-16);We investigate the concurrent problem of orbit design and formation control around a libration point. The problem formulation is based on a framework of multi-agent, nonlinear optimal control. The optimality criterion is ...
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