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Confluence of navigation, communication, and control in distributed spacecraft systems

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7 Author(s)
Stadter, P.A. ; Appl. Phys. Lab., Johns Hopkins Univ., Laurel, MD, USA ; Chacos, A.A. ; Heins, R.J. ; Moore, G.T.
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This research details the development of technologies and methodologies that enable distributed spacecraft systems by supporting integrated navigation, communication, and control. Operating at the confluence of these critical functions produces capabilities needed to realize the promise of distributed spacecraft systems, including improved performance and robustness relative to monolithic space systems. Navigation supports science data association and data alignment for distributed aperture sensing, multipoint observation, and co-observation of target regions. Communication enables autonomous distributed science data processing and information exchange among space assets. Both navigation and communication provide essential input to control methods for coordinating distributed autonomous assets at the interspacecraft system level and the intraspacecraft affector subsystem level. A technology solution to implement these capabilities, the Crosslink Transceiver, is also described. The Crosslink Transceiver provides navigation and communication capability that can be integrated into a developing autonomous command and control methodology for distributed spacecraft systems. A small satellite implementation of the Crosslink Transceiver design is detailed and its ability to support broad distributed spacecraft mission classes is described

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Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )