Nonlinear modeling and control of spacecraft relative motion in the configuration space

Pini Gurfil, N. Jeremy Kasdin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper presents a new methodology yielding high-order, nonlinear approximations to the relative orbital dynamics of spacecraft flying in formation. A nonlinear formationkeeping control law is then developed. Nonlinear models of relative spacecraft dynamics are parameterized as time-series. Instead of using the Cartesian initial conditions as constants of motion, classical orbital elements are utilized. Variation of these elements enables the incorporation of perturbations and control forces in a straightforward manner. The method presented in the paper does not require solution of the differential equations, thus offering a simple derivation of models for relative motion. The known inertial configuration space is utilized and projected onto a classical rotating Hill frame. Based on the nonlinear modeling, a globally asymptotically stabilizing low-thrust Lyapunov-based formationkeeping controller is developed. The merits of the proposed modeling and control are validated by a few illustrative examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-169
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Volume114 I
StatePublished - 2003
EventSpaceflight Mechanics 2003: Proceedings of the AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting - Ponce, Puerto Rico
Duration: Feb 9 2003Feb 13 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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