Relative Motion Guidance, Navigation and Control for Autonomous Orbital Rendezvous

Mohamed Okasha, Brett Newman


In this paper, the dynamics of the relative motion problem in a perturbed orbital environment are exploited based on Gauss’ variational equations. The relative coordinate frame (Hill frame) is studied to describe the relative motion. A linear high fidelity model is developed to describe the relative motion. This model takes into account primary gravitational and atmospheric drag perturbations. In addition, this model is used in the design of a control, guidance, and navigation system of a chaser vehicle to approach towards and to depart from a target vehicle in proximity operations. Relative navigation uses an extended Kalman filter based on this relative model to estimate the relative position and velocity of the chaser vehicle with respect to the target vehicle and the chaser attitude and gyros biases. This filter uses the range and angle measurements of the target relative to the chaser from a simulated Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system, along with the star tracker and gyro measurements of the chaser. The corresponding measurement models, process noise matrix and other filter parameters are provided. Numerical simulations are performed to assess the precision of this model with respect to the full nonlinear model.The analyses include the navigations errors, trajectory dispersions, and attitude dispersions.


Satellite relative motion, Orbital rendezvous.

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