USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

A Reconfigurable, Decentralized Framework for Formation Flying Control

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Princeton Satellite Systems
6 Market St. Suite 926 Plainsboro, NJ 08536
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: A Reconfigurable, Decentralized Framework for Formation Flying Control
Agency: NASA
Contract: NAS5-03027
Award Amount: $69,800.00


The paradigm shift of using multiple-satellite clusters to replace large, monolithic spacecraft has been fueled by the objectives of increased robustness, greater flexibility, and reduced cost. It is our belief, however, that these objectives are not automatically met. The operational costs of monitoring and commanding a large fleet of close-orbiting satellites is likely to be unreasonable, unless the onboard software is sufficiently autonomous, robust, and reconfigurable. The decentralized agent framework that we propose here will meet these requirements.This proposal is for a novel formation flying control system with a reconfigurable and decentralized framework. The relative orbit determination and control system is organized as a modular network of software agents, which may be adapted and evolved throughout the mission. The computational load for both orbit determination and maneuver planning is distributed equally, decreasing the chances for single-point failures and allowing for greater extensability. The control system will run within the Princeton Satellite Systems?ObjectAgenta architecture. Agents may be added, removed or replaced post-launch to increase mission flexibility and robustness. This level of reconfigurability exceeds the state-of-the-art in traditional flight software. Additionally, the decentralized nature of the design enables the number of satellites to change post-launch, and can seamlessly support large clusters.

Principal Investigator:

Joseph Mueller
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Michael Paluszek
Small Business Information at Submission:

Princeton Satellite Systems
33 Witherspoon St. Princeton, NJ 08542

EIN/Tax ID: 223192263
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No