Formation Maintenance and Fuel Balancing for Satellites with Implusive Control Conference Paper uri icon


  • A method for long-term formation maintenance and inter-satellite fuel balancing based on a two-impulse-per-orbit scheme is presented. Impulse magnitudes and their application times are obtained analytically from Gauss' variational equations. The target states are determined from the mean elements of the reference orbit and the desired mean differential elements for each satellite. Minor, control-induced, periodic variations in the mean orbital elements of the satellites are introduced for fuel balancing. The proposed methodology is verified by numerical integrations of the equations of motion of the satellites under the influence of thrust and the earth's oblateness perturbation. An example of maintaining seven satellites in a projected circular formation with respect to a low earth reference orbit, over a period of one year, is considered to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed method. Copyright 2008 by Srinivas R. Vadali, Hui Yan and Kyle T. Alfriend.

name of conference

  • AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference and Exhibit

published proceedings

  • AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference and Exhibit

author list (cited authors)

  • Yan, H., Vadali, S., & Alfriend, K.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Yan, Hui||Vadali, Srinivas||Alfriend, Kyle

publication date

  • August 2008