Low Thrust Augmented Spacecraft Formation-Flying

Arnot, C. S. and McInnes, C. R. (2015) Low Thrust Augmented Spacecraft Formation-Flying. In: 25th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics: ISSFD 2015, Munich, Germany, 19-23 Oct 2015,

114400.pdf - Published Version



Ballistic spacecraft formation-flying with zero thrust has great utility, but it is limited to a comparatively small set of relative trajectories. However, through the application of continuous low thrust, rich new families of formation-flying trajectories can be accessed. This new and novel problem provides a wide range of potentially useful alternatives to natural ballistic formationflying. In this paper, the standard Clohessy-Wiltshire approximation of relative spacecraft motion is used to investigate the motion of a chase spacecraft about a target spacecraft which is in a circular Earth orbit. Families of non-Keplerian relative motion are systematically explored, generating analytical representations of the relative motion trajectories and the required thrust commands for both simple static formations and more complex new forced relative orbits. It is found that the impulse, and therefore propellant, required for maintenance of such relative orbits is small, and so the concept of low thrust augmented formation-flying is deliverable in the near term with existing thruster technology.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McInnes, Professor Colin
Authors: Arnot, C. S., and McInnes, C. R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record