autonomous, controls, satellite, formation, flying, orbital, maneuvering, KnightSat, guidance, navigation
This document describes the design and analysis of the Navigation, Guidance and Control System for the KnightSat project. The purpose for the project is to test and demonstrate new technologies the Air Force would be interested in for research and development. The primary mission of KnightSat is to show how a constellation of satellites can maintain relative position with each other autonomously using the Microwave Electro Thermal (MET) thruster. The secondary mission is to use multiple satellite imagery to obtain 3 dimensional stereo photographs of observable terrain. Formation flying itself has many possible uses for future applications. Selected missions that require imaging or data collection can be more economically accomplished using smaller multiple satellites. The MET thruster is a very efficient, but low thrust alternative that can provide thrust for a very long time, hence provide the low thrust necessary to maintain the satellites at a constant separation. The challenge is to design a working control algorithm to provide the desired output data to be used to command the MET thrusters. The satellites are to maintain a constant relative distance from each other, and use the least amount of fuel possible. If one satellite runs out of fuel before the other, it would render the constellation less useful or useless. Hence, the satellites must use the same amount of fuel in order to maintain an optimal operational duration on orbit.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Santiago, Luis, "Autonomous Controls Algorithmfor Formation Flying Of Satellites" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 980.