Distributed Onboard Control of a Planar Ring of Satellites. Department of Aerospace Engineering report no. 9627

Johnston, A. G. Y. (1996) Distributed Onboard Control of a Planar Ring of Satellites. Department of Aerospace Engineering report no. 9627. Technical Report. Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Constellations of satellites are of growing importance in the communications and navigational fields. A number of systems ranging from a dozen satellites in high orbits to several hundred in low orbits have been proposed. Communications constellations are required to maintain certain coverage patterns, and therefore the spacing of the satellites must be tightly maintained against external perturbations such as air drag. Controlling such systems using conventional, groundbased techniques may prove to be time-consuming and expensive, fully autonomous approaches to orbit control for satellite constellations could offer signiGcant cost advantages. This report documents progress towards the development of control algorithms for multi-satellite constellations. The developement of a simple, numerical Earth Satellite model is discussed, particular attention is paid to deriving a system of equations which is efficient to integrate and robust. A control technique is developed, based on the Potential Function Method previously applied to spacecraft control problems. The resulting algorithms allow direct control of a spacecraft’s orbital elements and permit exploitation of natural orbital dynamics, such as earth gravity field harmonics to adjust a spacecraft’s orbit. The application of the algorithm to maintenance of orbital altitude against air drag is successfully attempted and a distributed control scheme for a ring of satellites is developed. The distributed control is found to offer higher performance than previous techniques. Improvements to the method to avoid some unwelcome features are discussed.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Technical Report)
Additional Information:University of Glasgow author: A. Gavin Y. Johnston.
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:UNSPECIFIED
Authors: Johnston, A. G. Y.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Aerospace Sciences
Publisher:Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 1996 Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Department

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