Title: DelFFi: formation flying of two CubeSats for technology, education and science

Authors: Jian Guo; Eberhard Gill

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

Abstract: Under the QB50 framework, the Delft University of Technology are developing a formation flying mission called DelFFi. The objectives of the DelFFi mission are to demonstrate advanced formation flying technologies with CubeSats, provide an educational framework for students and enable enhanced science return from the QB50. Both satellites will be identical triple-unit CubeSats, each being equipped with a highly miniaturised propulsion system in addition to the science payload. This configuration will allow to demonstrate advanced formation flying as well as scientific data collection. Based on an analysis of guidance, navigation and control needs for formation flying in very low altitude orbits, a staggered approach of increasingly complex operational scenarios for formation flying is developed, analysed and discussed. Implementation options for critical enabling formation flying technology and platform subsystems are presented.

Keywords: Cubesat; satellite formation flying; satellite propulsion; satellites; miniaturised propulsion systems; scientific data collection; satellite guidance; satellite navigation; satellite control; low altitude orbits; higher education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2013.054452

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2013 Vol.1 No.2, pp.113 - 127

Received: 07 Sep 2012
Accepted: 23 Oct 2012

Published online: 30 Apr 2014 *

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