Implementation of Satellite Formation Flight Algorithms Using SPHERES aboard the International Space Station
Mandy CP, et al. (2007). "Implementation of Satellite Formation Flight Algorithms Using SPHERES aboard the International Space Station." International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics
The MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed the Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) as a risk-tolerant spapceborne facility to develop and mature control, estimation, and autonomy algorithms for distributed satellite systems for applications such as satellite formation flight. Tests performed study interferometric mission-type formation flight maneuvers in deep space. These tests consist of having the satellites trace a coordinated trajectory under tight control that would allow simulated apertures to constructively interfere observed light and measure the resulting increase in angular resolution. This paper focuses on formation initialization (establishment of a formation using limited field of view relative sensors), formation coordination (synchronization of the different satellite’s motion) and fuel-balancing among the different satellites.