Initial conditions and fuel-optimal control for formation flying of satellites Conference Paper uri icon


  • 1999 by The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. All rights reserved. This paper deals with the formulation and solution of the initial condition, determination and fuel-optimal control problem in regard to formation flying of satellites. Unlike the relative station-keeping problem for satellites in the same plane, formation flying entails the creation of proper out-of-plane relative motion such that the satellites in the formation satisfy some mission requirements. Two methods for determining initial conditions of a satellite (Deputy), given the initial conditions of the chief satellite, for formation flying without thrust for a long period, are presented. The first method matches the mean J2-induced angular drift rates of the two satellites, and the second method is based on imposing periodic boundary conditions on the relative position and velocity in a rotating coordinate system. A fuel-optimal impulsive thrusting scheme is developed to establish a formation. A fuel-optimal, low-thrust, variable Isp propulsion scheme is presented for orbit maintenance.

name of conference

  • Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit

published proceedings

  • Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 44

complete list of authors

  • Vadali, S||Schaub, H||Alfriend, K

publication date

  • August 1999