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Formation flying is defined as a set of more than one spacecraft whose states are coupled through a common control law. This paper provides a comprehensive survey of spacecraft formation flying control (FFC), which encompasses design techniques and stability results for these coupled-state control laws. We divide the FFC literature into five FFC architectures: (i) multiple-input multiple-output, in which the formation is treated as a single multiple-input, multiple-output plant, (ii) leader/follower, in which individual spacecraft controllers are connected hierarchically, (iii) virtual structure, in which spacecraft are treated as rigid bodies embedded in an overall virtual rigid body, (iv) cyclic, in which individual spacecraft controllers are connected non-hierarchically, and (v) behavioral, in which multiple controllers for achieving different (and possibly competing) objectives are combined. This survey significantly extends an overview of the FFC literature provided by Lawton, which discussed the L/F, virtual structure and behavioral architectures. We also include a brief history of the formation flying literature, and discuss connections between spacecraft FFC and other multi-vehicle control problems in the robotics and automated highway system literatures.
American Control Conference, 2004. Proceedings of the 2004 (Volume:4 )
Date of Conference: June 30 2004-July 2 2004