Proximity Navigation of Highly Constrained SpacecraftBandit is a 3-kg automated spacecraft in development at Washington University in St. Louis. Bandit's primary mission is to demonstrate proximity navigation, including docking, around a 25-kg student-built host spacecraft. However, because of extreme constraints in mass, power and volume, traditional sensing and actuation methods are not available. In particular, Bandit carries only 8 fixed-magnitude cold-gas thrusters to control its 6 DOF motion. Bandit lacks true inertial sensing, and the ability to sense position relative to the host has error bounds that approach the size of the Bandit itself. Some of the navigation problems are addressed through an extremely robust, error-tolerant soft dock. In addition, we have identified a control methodology that performs well in this constrained environment: behavior-based velocity potential functions, which use a minimum-seeking method similar to Lyapunov functions. We have also adapted the discrete Kalman filter for use on Bandit for position estimation and have developed a similar measurement vs. propagation weighting algorithm for attitude estimation. This paper provides an overview of Bandit and describes the control and estimation approach. Results using our 6DOF flight simulator are provided, demonstrating that these methods show promise for flight use.
Scarritt, S. (Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Swartwout, M. (Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
August 24, 2013
September 24, 2007
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics