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Title: Generalised multi-impulsive manoeuvres for optimum spacecraft rendezvous in near-circular orbit

Authors: Gabriella Gaias; Simone D'Amico; Jean-Sébastien Ardaens

Addresses: GSOC/Space Flight Technology Department, DLR German Aerospace Center, Münchner Str. 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany ' Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, 496 Lomita Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-4035, USA ' GSOC/Space Flight Technology Department, DLR German Aerospace Center, Münchner Str. 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany

Abstract: This work describes the design of an impulsive manoeuvres' planner meant for onboard autonomous optimum formation flying reconfigurations in near-circular orbit. The whole variation of the relative orbit is stepwise achieved through intermediate configurations, so that passive safety and delta-v consumption minimisation are pursued. The description of the relative motion is accomplished in terms of relative orbital elements and the reconfiguration plan takes into account mean effects due to the Earth oblateness coefficient and differential drag. Manoeuvres consist of sets of triple tangential impulses and a single out-of-plane burn to establish each intermediate configuration. They are scheduled in time intervals compliant with the user-defined permissible time control windows.

Keywords: formation flying; formation reconfiguration; autonomy; relative orbital elements; ROEs; impulsive manoeuvres; spacecraft manoeuvres; optimisation; spacecraft rendezvous; near-circular orbit; manoeuvre planning; relative motion; Earth oblateness coefficient; differential drag.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2015.069361

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2015 Vol.3 No.1, pp.68 - 88

Available online: 12 May 2015 *

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