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Relative Orbit Design for Maintaining Constant Distance in Satellite Formation Flying

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2 Author(s)
Rucai Che ; Beijing Institute of Control Engineering, P.O. Box. 2729, 35#, Beijing, China. Phone: +86-010-68745545, E-mail:, ; Honghua Zhang

The concept of satellite formation flying has been known for some times. Areas of satellite formation flying application include stereographic viewing, interferometry and synthetic aperture synthesization for radar and other applications. The formation with a constant separation between adjacent satellites in an elliptical orbit is required. In this paper, a novel relative orbit design strategy for maintaining constant separation between satellites in formation flying is proposed. The relative dynamics of formation flying with elliptical reference orbits is studied in the true anomaly domain. Using the homogenous solutions to these equations, it is demonstrated that there exists an initial state that will keep almost constant separation between satellites in an elliptical orbit. The separation distance error between adjacent satellites is proportional to the eccentricity of the leader satellite. Simulation results have verified the effectiveness of the proposed method

Published in:

Computational Engineering in Systems Applications, IMACS Multiconference on  (Volume:1 )

Date of Conference:

4-6 Oct. 2006