A Reconfigurable, Decentralized Framework for Formation Flying Control

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS5-03027
Agency Tracking Number: 022372
Amount: $69,800.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Princeton Satellite Systems
33 Witherspoon St., Princeton, NJ, 08542
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Joseph Mueller
 Principal Investigator
 (763) 561-9246
 jmueller@psatellite.com
Business Contact
 Michael Paluszek
Title: President
Phone: (609) 279-9606
Email: map@psatellite.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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