Guidance algorithms for proximity to target spacecraft

Shunan Wu (Research Center of Satellite Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China Space Advanced Research Team, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Zhaowei Sun (Research Center of Satellite Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)
Gianmarco Radice (Space Advanced Research Team, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Xiande Wu (College of Aerospace and Civil Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, China)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Publication date: 17 May 2011

Abstract

Purpose

One of the primary problems in the field of on‐orbit service and space conflict is related to the approach to the target. The development of guidance algorithms is one of the main research areas in this field. The objective of this paper is to address the guidance problem for autonomous proximity manoeuvres of a chase‐spacecraft approaching a target spacecraft.

Design/methodology/approach

The process of autonomous proximity is divided into three phases: proximity manoeuvre, fly‐around manoeuvre, and final approach. The characteristics of the three phases are analyzed. Considering the time factor of autonomous proximity, different orbits for the three phases are planned. Different guidance algorithms, which are based on multi‐pulse manoeuvres, are then devised.

Findings

This paper proposes three phases of autonomous proximity and then designs a guidance method, which hinges on a multi‐pulse algorithm and different orbits for the three phases; in addition, a method of impulse selection is devised.

Practical implications

An easy methodology for the analysis and design of autonomous proximity manoeuvres is proposed, which could also be considered for other space applications such as formation flying deployment and reconfiguration.

Originality/value

Based on this guidance method, the manoeuvre‐flight period of the chase‐spacecraft can be set in accordance with the mission requirements; the constraints on fuel mass and manoeuvre time are both considered and satisfied. Consequently, this proposed guidance method can effectively deal with the problem of proximity approach to a target spacecraft.

Keywords

Citation

Wu, S., Sun, Z., Radice, G. and Wu, X. (2011), "Guidance algorithms for proximity to target spacecraft", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 83 No. 3, pp. 146-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/00022661111131230

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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