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Relative dynamics and control of high area-to-mass ratio spacecraft flying around an oblate Earth exploiting solar radiation pressure

Mingotti, Giorgio and McInnes, Colin (2014) Relative dynamics and control of high area-to-mass ratio spacecraft flying around an oblate Earth exploiting solar radiation pressure. In: 24th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting 2014, 2014-01-26 - 2014-01-30, New Mexico.

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Abstract

Reconfiguration manoeuvers for formation-flying are investigated in this paper, where micro-spacecraft with high area-to-mass ratio and small length-scale are considered. Assuming the exact J2 nonlinear relative dynamics, an optimal control problem is formulated to accomplish the manoeuvers. A continuous control acceleration is applied to the system dynamics via a propellant-free approach, which exploits differential solar radiation pressure by means of electrochromic coating. A new class of space missions is enabled, based on swarms of micro-spacecraft with sensing, computing, bi-directional communicating and micro-power sources.