Characterizing and Controlling the Effects of Differential Drag on Satellite Formations
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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The ability to fly satellites in close formations represents a capability that could revolutionize the way satellite missions are designed in the future. This study examines three of the primary formation flying designs and characterizes the effects that an anomalous satellite with a slightly different cross-sectional area would have on the stability of the formation. Following the characterization of these effects, a controller is implemented to mitigate the cross-sectional area differences between the satellites. The results show that, with the addition of a straightforward controller, small cross-sectional area differences can be mitigated and corrected such that the satellites will remain in close proximity and, in some cases, the formation will remain stable.
- Flight Control and Instrumentation
- Space Navigation and Guidance
- Unmanned Spacecraft