Deep-Space Spacecraft Formation Flying using Θ-D Control

Alternative Title

Deep-space spacecraft formation flying using theta-D control


A new control technique for deep-space spacecraft formation flying is proposed in this paper. The circular restricted three-body problem with Sun and Earth as the two primaries is utilized as a framework of study and two satellite formation flying is considered. The leader satellite is stationkept in the nominal orbit around the L2 libration point. A nonlinear model is developed that describes the relative formation dynamics. This nonlinear control problem was addressed by employing a new nonlinear control approach, called the θ- D technique. This method is based upon the optimal control concept and gives a closed-form suboptimal feedback solution. In this approach the Hamiltonian-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equation is solved approximately by adding some perturbations to the cost function. The controller is designed such that the relative position error between the two satellites is maintained within one centimeter accuracy. The numerical results from employing this method demonstrate the potential of this method.

Meeting Name

AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit 2004 (2004: Aug. 16-19, Providence, RI)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Deep-Space Spacecraft; Nonlinear Model; Three-body problem

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2004 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

19 Aug 2004

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