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Proceedings Paper

Electromagnetic formation flight for the Terrestrial Planet Finder
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Paper Abstract

Current techniques for actuating spacecraft in formation flying systems such as NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) use propellant-based systems. While maintaining relative orientation, propellant can become a critical consumable which can limit the mission lifetime. Additionally, propellant can cause optimal contamination, plume impingement, thermal emission, and vibration excitation. A novel technique called Electromagnetic Formation Flight (EMFF) can be used to eliminate propellant-based systems to control the relative degrees of freedom for TPF. The EMFF system consists of electromagnets in concert with reaction wheels and is used to replace the consumables. Solar energy, a renewable resource provides power for EMFF. This paper investigates the design for TPF using EMFF. The results show that EMFF is a viable option for TPF and compares favorably in terms of mass to propellant-based systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 August 2005
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5905, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets II, 590515 (31 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.614556
Show Author Affiliations
Daniel W. Kwon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
David W. Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5905:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets II
Daniel R. Coulter, Editor(s)

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