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Formation flying of multiple spacecraft with autonomous rendezvous and docking capability

Formation flying of multiple spacecraft with autonomous rendezvous and docking capability

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The idea of incorporating autonomous rendezvous and docking (ARVD) capability into spacecraft flying in formation is explored. The situations where it is advantageous to incorporate ARVD capability into spacecraft formations are identified. Attention is focused on various potential problems pertaining to the control of multiple spacecraft with ARVD capability. Multiple-model-based control laws for formation acquisition and ARVD are developed using generic spacecraft models. In particular, the use of such control laws for simultaneous docking of multiple spacecraft in formation acquisition and reconfiguration is studied. Various optimal formation reconfiguration problems are briefly discussed. The effectiveness of the developed control laws is studied via computer simulation using a six-spacecraft formation model.

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