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We consider the coordinated attitude control problem for a group of spacecraft, without velocity measurements. Our approach is based on the introduction of auxiliary dynamical systems (playing the role of velocity observers in a certain sense) to generate the individual and relative damping terms in the absence of the actual angular velocities and relative angular velocities. Our main focus, in this technical note, is to address the following two problems: 1) Design a velocity-free attitude tracking and synchronization control scheme, that allows the team members to align their attitudes and track a time-varying reference trajectory (simultaneously). 2) Design a velocity-free synchronization control scheme, in the case where no reference attitude is specified, and all spacecraft are required to reach a consensus by aligning their attitudes with the same final time-varying attitude. In this work, one important and novel feature (besides the non-requirement of the angular velocity measurements), consists in the fact that the control torques are naturally bounded and the designer can arbitrarily assign the desired bounds on the control torques, a priori, through the control gains, regardless of the angular velocities. Throughout this technical note, the communication flow between spacecraft is assumed to be undirected. Simulation results of a scenario of four spacecraft are provided to show the effectiveness of the proposed control schemes.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2009