Partial J2-invariance for spacecraft formations Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper presents a method for finding spacecraft formation initial conditions (ICs) that minimize the drift resulting from J2 disturbances and also minimize the fuel required to attain those ICs. A third goal that the formation remain in a particular geometry can also be considered. The approach uses linear optimization, but is valid for highly eccentric and widely spaced orbits. Optimization allows for the intelligent selection of degrees of freedom in already existing invariance conditions, as well as the minimization of different types of drift. Results are compared to J 2-invariance conditions in the literature and the method is shown to find relative orbits with slightly lower levels of drift that require significantly less ΔV to obtain.

author list (cited authors)

  • Breger, L., How, J. P., & Alfriend, K. T.

publication date

  • December 2006