The purpose of this paper is to present a method to achieve small satellite formation keeping operations by using the differential lift and drag to control the drift caused by J2 perturbation in circular or near-circular low earth orbits (LEOs).
Each spacecraft is equipped with five large flat plates, which can be controlled to generate differential accelerations. The aerodynamic lift and drag acting on a flat plate is calculated by the kinetic theory. To maintain the formation within tracking error bounds in the presence of J2 perturbation, a nonlinear Lyapunov-based feedback control law is designed.
Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed method is efficient for the satellite formation keeping and better accuracy advantage in comparison with classical approaches via the fixed maximum differential aerodynamic acceleration.
Because the aerodynamic force will reduce drastically as the orbital altitude increases, the formation keeping control strategy for small satellites presented in this paper should be limited to the scenarios when satellites are in LEO.
The formation keeping control method in this paper can be applied to solve satellite formation keeping problem for small satellites in LEO.
This paper proposes a Lyapunov control strategy for satellite formation keeping considering both lift and drag forces, and simulation results show better performance with high accuracy under J2 perturbation.
The authors are grateful for the support provided for this study by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11502142).
Shao, X., Song, M., Wang, J., Zhang, D. and Chen, J. (2017), "Satellite formation keeping using differential lift and drag under J2 perturbation", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 89 No. 1, pp. 11-19. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-06-2015-0168Download as .RIS
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