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A novel relative navigation method based on thrust on-line identification for tight formation keeping

Wenjing Zhu (Distributed Spacecraft System Technology Laboratory, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Dexin Zhang (Distributed Spacecraft System Technology Laboratory, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Jihe Wang (Distributed Spacecraft System Technology Laboratory, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Xiaowei Shao (Distributed Spacecraft System Technology Laboratory, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a novel high-precision relative navigation method for tight formation-keeping based on thrust on-line identification.

Design/methodology/approach

Considering that thrust acceleration cannot be measured directly, an on-line identification method of thrust acceleration is explored via the estimated acceleration of major space perturbation and the inter-satellite relative states obtained from space-borne acceleration sensors; then, an effective identification model is designed to reconstruct thrust acceleration. Based on the identified thrust acceleration, relative orbit dynamics for tight formation-keeping is established. Further, using global positioning system (GPS) measurement information, a modified extended Kalman filter (EKF) is suggested to obtain the inter-satellite relative position and relative velocity.

Findings

Compared with the normal EKF and the adaptive robust EKF, the proposed modified EKF has better estimation accuracy in radial and along-track directions because of accurate compensation of thrust acceleration. Meanwhile, high-precision relative navigation results depend on high-precision acceleration sensors. Finally, simulation studies on a chief-deputy formation flying control system are performed to verify the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed relative navigation algorithm.

Social implications

This paper provides a reference in solving the problem of high-precision relative navigation in tight formation-keeping application.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a novel on-line identification method for thrust acceleration and shows that thrust identification-based modified EKF is more efficient in relative navigation for tight formation-keeping.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the support provided for this study by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.11502142).

Citation

Zhu, W., Zhang, D., Wang, J. and Shao, X. (2017), "A novel relative navigation method based on thrust on-line identification for tight formation keeping", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 89 No. 3, pp. 406-414. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-10-2015-0224

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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