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Constrained Autonomous Satellite Docking via Differential Flatness and Model Predictive Control

S. S. Farahani, I. Papusha, C. McGhan, and R. M. Murray

Abstract

We investigate trajectory generation algorithms that allow a satellite to autonomously rendezvous and dock with a target satellite to perform maintenance tasks, or transport the target satellite to a new operational location. We propose different path planning strategies for each of the phases of rendezvous. In the first phase, the satellite navigates to a point in the Line of Sight (LOS) region of the target satellite. We show that the satellite's equations of motion are differentially flat in the relative coordinates, hence the rendezvous trajectory can be found efficiently in the flat output space without a need to integrate the full nonlinear dynamics. In the second phase, we use model predictive control (MPC) with linearized dynamics to navigate the spacecraft to the final docking location within a constrained approach envelope. We demonstrate feasibility of this study by simulating a sample docking mission.

Citation

S. S. Farahani, I. Papusha, C. McGhan, and R. M. Murray. "Constrained Autonomous Satellite Docking via Differential Flatness and Model Predictive Control," IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), pp. 3306--3311, Las Vegas, NV, December 12--14, 2016.