AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB United States
As CubeSat formation flying missions relying on differential drag become common additional mission requirements must be considered. Mission architectures may require maintaining large formations and performing maneuvers where linear dynamics can no longer be applied accurately. It may also be desirable to limit differential-drag maneuvers to specific regions of the orbit due to mission architecture limitations. This thesis studies the effects of these considerations on maneuver time and system performance in the presence of J2 and drag perturbations. This model leader-follower CubeSat formation is subject to non-linear relative dynamics for various maneuver sizes and altitudes. Optimal control is applied using a pseudo-spectral numerical solver, GPOPS-II, to minimize maneuver time. This develops a mission planning tool to work with the modeled mission to calculate optimal maneuvers. The effects of mission altitude, solar cycle, various maneuver sizes and formations, limited control, various computational methods, and error checkers were evaluated. Thought the mission planning tool developed can accommodate the stated parameters it suffers from computational complexity and is poorly suited to the tools used and the MatLab environment.