Title: A survey of autonomous cooperation of modules' cluster operations for fractionated spacecraft

Authors: Jing Chu; Jian Guo; Eberhard Gill

Addresses: Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Kluvyerweg 1, 2629 HS, Delft, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Kluvyerweg 1, 2629 HS, Delft, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Kluvyerweg 1, 2629 HS, Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: Autonomous cooperation is recognised as the key technology to enable modules' cluster operations of fractionated spacecraft. This paper presents a thorough survey of the technologies that facilitate the desired autonomous cooperation of fractionated spacecraft. The constraints imposed by fractionated spacecraft are taken into account in this survey. The investigation is decomposed into three parts: 1) modelling of fractionated spacecraft, which includes a survey on existing architectures of fractionated spacecraft, onboard autonomy and models of satellite relative motion; 2) development of a planner, task allocator and local controller, which, respectively, belongs to the higher level layer, the middleware layer and the lower level layer of a distributed system; 3) testbeds for the validation and verification of implemented autonomous cooperation. This survey summarises key research and intends to pave the way for the implementation of autonomous cooperation of fractionated spacecraft in the future.

Keywords: fractionated spacecraft; cluster operations; autonomous cooperation; modelling; satellite relative motion; planning; task allocation; local control; distributed systems; satellites; module clusters; distributed space systems; independent spacecraft modules; wireless networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2013.051771

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2013 Vol.1 No.1, pp.3 - 19

Received: 17 Oct 2012
Accepted: 29 Oct 2012

Published online: 24 Jan 2013 *

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