Analytic Model Predictive Controller for Collision-Free Relative Motion Reconfiguration

Luke Sauter & P L Palmer

Large formations of satellites currently require extensive ground based planning to enable formation-wide collision-free reconfiguration. Allowing satellite formations the flexibility to execute collision-free reconfiguration operations on-board each spacecraft can significantly reduce the ground operations burden and increase the responsiveness of the formation to reconfiguration events. An analytic model predictive controller for fuel-minimized, collision-free trajectory following is developed. The controller exploits the natural dynamics for relative-motion path-following using minimal fuel and requires a minimal computational burden. Constraints are handled implicitly and performance provides 423 times the fuel savings compared with traditional PID type control at the same computational speed. Through hardware testing and comparison with other approaches, results also show that constraints can also be handled explicitly while still performing significantly faster than similar forms of model predictive control for formation reconfiguration.

Paper: Model Predictive Controller

Ref: Sauter, Luke & Palmer, P.L.,  AIAA J Guidance, Control & Dynamics, 35, No 4, pp. 1069-1079, 2012.

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