Title page for ETD etd-122999-103653

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hughes, Steven Patrick
URN etd-122999-103653
Title Formation Flying Performance Measures for Earth Pointing Missions
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hall, Christopher D. Committee Chair
Kasarda, Mary E. F. Committee Member
Lutze, Frederick H. Jr. Committee Member
  • formation flying
  • optimization
  • performance measures
  • constant shape formations
Date of Defense 1999-12-13
Availability unrestricted
Clusters of low-performance spacecraft flying in formation may

provide enhanced performance over single high-performance

spacecraft. This is especially true for remote sensing missions

where interferometry or stereographic imaging may provide higher

resolution data. The configurations of such formations vary

during an orbit due to orbital dynamics, and over longer time

scales due to perturbations. Selection of a configuration should

be based on overall performance of the formation. In this thesis,

performance measures are developed and evaluated based on

integration over one orbit. The measures involve the angular

separation of spacecraft, the distance between spacecraft, and an

area-based measure of the separation of the spacecraft. Numerical

techniques are employed to evaluate the performance measures to

determine optimal scenarios for two formations. Simplifying

assumptions are made to allow a closed-form analytic solution and

the results are compared to those obtained numerically. Finally,

the sensitivity of the measures to linearized propagation

techniques is investigated.

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