Relative Sensor with 4Pi Coverage for Formation Flying MissionsThe Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) pre-project, an element of NASA s Origins program, is currently developing two architectures for a mission to search for earth-like planets around nearby stars. One of the architectures being developed is the Formation Flying Interferometer (FFI). The FFI is envisioned to consist of up to seven spacecraft (as many as six "collectors" with IR telescopes, and a "combiner") flying in precise formation within +/-1 cm of pre-determined trajectories for synchronized observations. The spacecraft-to-spacecraft separations are variable between 20 m and 100 m or more during observations to support various configurations of the interferometer in the planet-finding mode. The challenges involved with TPF autonomous operations, ranging from formation acquisition and formation maneuvering to high precision formation control during science observations, are unprecedented. In this paper we discuss the development of the formation acquisition sensor, which uses novel modulation and duplexing schemes to enable fast signal acquisition, multiple-spacecraft operation, and mitigation of inherent jamming conditions, while providing precise formation sensing and integrated radar capability. This approach performs delay synthesis and carrier cycle ambiguity resolution to improve range measurement, and uses differential carrier cycle ambiguity resolution to make precise bearing angle measurements without calibration maneuvers.
Tien, Jeffrey Y. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Purcell, George H., Jr. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Srinivasan, Jeffrey M. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Young, Lawrence E. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
August 23, 2013
September 1, 2004
Publication: Proceedings from the 2nd International Symposium on Formation Flying Missions and Technologies