Angles-only initial relative orbit determination algorithm for non-cooperative spacecraft proximity operations

Abstract

This research furthers the development of a closed-form solution to the angles-only initial relative orbit determination problem for non-cooperative target close-in proximity operations when the camera offset from the vehicle center-of-mass allows for range observability. In previous work, the solution to this problem had been shown to be non-global optimal in the sense of least square and had only been discussed in the context of Clohessy-Wiltshire. In this paper, the emphasis is placed on developing a more compact and improved solution to the problem by using state augmentation least square method in the context of the Clohessy-Wiltshire and Tschauner-Hempel dynamics, derivation of corresponding error covariance, and performance analysis for typical rendezvous missions. A two-body Monte Carlo simulation system is used to evaluate the performance of the solution. The sensitivity of the solution accuracy to camera offset, observation period, and the number of observations are presented and discussed.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr. David Geller from Utah State University for his great help in making this work possible. And this work is supported in part by the National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents (No. BX201700304), the Foundation of Science and Technology on Aerospace Flight Dynamics Laboratory (No. 61422100306707).

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Correspondence to Shuang Li.

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Baichun Gong is an assistant professor of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Northwestern Polytechnical University, China, in 2016, and was a visiting scholar of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Utah State University, in 2014-2015. Currently, he is a winner of theNational Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents". His area of expertise is in the aerospace flight dynamics, control and navigation for on-orbit servicing mission. His current research interests are angles-only and range-only relative navigation, and control for space rendezvous and docking.

Wendan Li received her B.S. degree in aircraft design from the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics, China, in 2016. She is currently pursuing her M.S. degree in aerospace engineering at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She has won the first prize at the 9th China Trajectory Optimization Competition. Her research interests include angles-only relative navigation and guidance, and optimal orbit control.

Shuang Li received his B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology, China, in 2001, 2003, and 2007, respectively. Since 2007, he has been with the College of Astronautics, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, where he is a full professor now. He was also a visiting scholar of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, UK, from 2012 to 2013. He has been the author of over 60 articles in reputable journals and conference proceedings. His research interests include spacecraft dynamics and control, deep space exploration, spacecraft autonomous guidance navigation and control, and astrodynamics. He has undertaken and is conducting up to 20 projects sponsored from the China government and the aerospace enterprises in the fields above.

Weihua Ma received his B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), China, in 2000, 2003, and 2007, respectively. Since 2007, he has been with the College of Astronautics, NPU, China, where he is an associate professor now. He was also a visiting scholar of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, UK, from 2014 to 2015. His research interests include spacecraft dynamics and control, spacecraft autonomous guidance navigation and control. He has undertaken and is conducting up to 20 projects sponsored from China government and the aerospace enterprises in the fields above.

Lili Zheng received her Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Northwestern Polytechnical University, China, in 2011. Since 2011, she has been with the Beijing Institute of Aerospace System Engineering, China, where she is a senior engineer now. Her research interests include spacecraft dynamics and control, navigation and control.

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Gong, B., Li, W., Li, S. et al. Angles-only initial relative orbit determination algorithm for non-cooperative spacecraft proximity operations. Astrodyn 2, 217–231 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42064-018-0022-0

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Keywords

  • initial relative orbit determination
  • angles-only navigation
  • proximity operations
  • rendezvous