SENSING TECHNOLOGIES FOR FORMATION-FLYING SPACECRAFT IN LEO USING CDGPS AND AN INTERSPACECRAFT COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM

CHAN-WOO PARK, JONATHAN P. HOW and LARRY CAPOTS

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: This paper describes research on sensing technologies for formation-flying spacecraft in low earth orbit. The approach is based on a combination of carrier-phase differential GPS (CDGPS) sensors and GPS-like transceivers that are combined with the interspacecraft communications system. By providing additional interspacecraft range and Doppler measurements to the navigation solution, these on-board transmitters could facilitate the use of CDGPS for orbits in which adequate visibility/geometry to the NAVSTAR constellation is not available. In addition, the carrier-phase cycle ambiguity can be rapidly initialized using relative vehicle motions. The paper discusses this augmentation concept in detail and presents a new algorithm that significantly improves the bias initialization process. The paper also addresses some key measurement errors associated with formation-flying spacecraft separated by long baselines (10–100 km). Experimental results on a new terrestrial testbed are presented to show the vehicle formation undergoing short path initialization and formation maneuvers.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 49, Number 1
Pages: 45 - 60
Cite this article: PARK, CHAN-WOO, HOW, JONATHAN P., CAPOTS, LARRY, "SENSING TECHNOLOGIES FOR FORMATION-FLYING SPACECRAFT IN LEO USING CDGPS AND AN INTERSPACECRAFT COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 49, No. 1, Spring 2002, pp. 45-60.
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