A set of linearized relative motion equations of spacecraft flying on unperturbed elliptical orbits are specialized for particular cases, where the leader orbit is circular or equatorial. Based on these extended equations, we are able to analyze the relative motion regulation between a pair of spacecraft flying on arbitrary unperturbed orbits with the same semi-major axis in close formation. Given the initial orbital elements of the leader, this paper presents a simple way to design initial relative orbital elements of close spacecraft with the same semi-major axis, thus preventing collision under non-perturbed conditions. Considering the mean influence of J2perturbation, namely secular J2perturbation, we derive the mean derivatives of orbital element differences, and then expand them to first order. Thus the first order expansion of orbital element differences can be added to the relative motion equations for further analysis. For a pair of spacecraft that will never collide under non-perturbed situations, we present a simple method to determine whether a collision will occur when J2perturbation is considered. Examples are given to prove the validity of the extended relative motion equations and to illustrate how the methods presented can be used. The simple method for designing initial relative orbital elements proposed here could be helpful to the preliminary design of the relative orbital elements between spacecraft in a close formation, when collision avoidance is necessary.

A simple method to design non-collision relative orbits for close spacecraft formation flying

Bernelli Zazzera, Franco
2018-01-01

Abstract

A set of linearized relative motion equations of spacecraft flying on unperturbed elliptical orbits are specialized for particular cases, where the leader orbit is circular or equatorial. Based on these extended equations, we are able to analyze the relative motion regulation between a pair of spacecraft flying on arbitrary unperturbed orbits with the same semi-major axis in close formation. Given the initial orbital elements of the leader, this paper presents a simple way to design initial relative orbital elements of close spacecraft with the same semi-major axis, thus preventing collision under non-perturbed conditions. Considering the mean influence of J2perturbation, namely secular J2perturbation, we derive the mean derivatives of orbital element differences, and then expand them to first order. Thus the first order expansion of orbital element differences can be added to the relative motion equations for further analysis. For a pair of spacecraft that will never collide under non-perturbed situations, we present a simple method to determine whether a collision will occur when J2perturbation is considered. Examples are given to prove the validity of the extended relative motion equations and to illustrate how the methods presented can be used. The simple method for designing initial relative orbital elements proposed here could be helpful to the preliminary design of the relative orbital elements between spacecraft in a close formation, when collision avoidance is necessary.
collision avoidance; orbit designing; relative motion; spacecraft formation; Physics and Astronomy (all)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1052974
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