Maneuver planning optimization for spacecraft formation flying missions

Peter Roberts, Ross Burgon, Jennifer A. Roberts, Finn Ankersen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Formation flying of spacecraft in orbit around the Earth and in deep space is becoming an enabling technology for a number of space mission concepts. One such concept is separated spacecraft interferometry, a technique to be used by ESA's Darwin planet finding mission. In this paper, a maneuver planning algorithm is introduced designed to find the post-maneuver spacecraft positions that satisfy interferometry science goals whilst optimizing for fuel use or fuel balancing considerations. Compared to a benchmark planning algorithm gains of up to 23% less fuel for fuel minimizing maneuvers and a significant increase in fuel balancing for fuel balancing maneuvers are observed using Darwin-like mission parameters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)545-571
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of the Astronautical Sciences
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


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