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Spacecraft formation flying using bifurcating potential fields

Bennet, Derek J. and McInnes, C.R. (2008) Spacecraft formation flying using bifurcating potential fields. In: 59th International Astronautical Congress, 2008-09-29 - 2008-10-03.

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The distributed control of spacecraft flying in formation has been shown to have advantages over conventional single spacecraft systems. These include scalability, flexibility and robustness to failures. This paper considers the real problem of actuator saturation and shows how bound control laws can be developed that allow pattern formation and reconfigurability in a formation of spacecraft using bifurcating potential fields. In addition the stability of the system is ensured mathematically through dynamical systems theory.