Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Many space organizations have a growing need to fly several small satellites close together in order to collect and correlate data from different satellite sensors. To do this requires teams of engineers monitoring the satellites orbits and planning maneuvers for the satellites every time the satellite leaves its desired trajectory or formation. This task of maintaining the satellites orbits quickly becomes an arduous and expensive feat for satellite operations centers. This research develops and analyzes algorithms that allow satellites to autonomously control their orbit and formation without human intervention. This goal is accomplished by developing and evaluating a decentralized, optimization-based control that can be used for autonomous formation flight of small satellites. To do this, virtual structures, model predictive control, and switching surfaces are used. An optimized guidance trajectory is also develop to reduce fuel usage of the system. The Hill-Clohessy-Wiltshire equations and the D'Amico relative orbital elements are used to describe the relative motion of the satellites. And a performance comparison of the L1, L2, and L∞ norms is completed as part of this work. The virtual structure, MPC based framework combined with the switching surfaces enables a scalable method that allows satellites to maneuver safely within their formation, while also minimizing fuel usage.
Smith, Tyson K., "Virtual Structures Based Autonomous Formation Flying Control for Small Satellites" (2023). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Fall 2023 to Present. 59.
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