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Proceedings Paper

SPHERES tethered formation flight testbed: advancements in enabling NASA’s SPECS mission
Author(s): Soon-Jo Chung; Danielle Adams; Alvar Saenz-Otero; Edmund Kong; David W. Miller; David Leisawitz; Enrico Lorenzini; Steve Sell
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Paper Abstract

This paper reports on efforts to control a tethered formation flight spacecraft array for NASA's SPECS mission using the SPHERES test-bed developed by the MIT Space Systems Laboratory. Specifically, advances in methodology and experimental results realized since the 2005 SPIE paper are emphasized. These include a new test-bed setup with a reaction wheel assembly, a novel relative attitude measurement system using force torque sensors, and modeling of non-ideal tethers to account for tether vibration modes. The nonlinear equations of motion of multi-vehicle tethered spacecraft with elastic flexible tethers are derived from Lagrange's equations. The controllability analysis indicates that both array resizing and spin-up are fully controllable by the reaction wheels and the tether motor, thereby saving thruster fuel consumption. Based upon this analysis, linear and nonlinear controllers have been successfully implemented on the tethered SPHERES testbed, and tested at the NASA MSFC's flat floor facility using two and three SPHERES configurations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 June 2006
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 6268, Advances in Stellar Interferometry, 62680B (27 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.670489
Show Author Affiliations
Soon-Jo Chung, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
Danielle Adams, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
Alvar Saenz-Otero, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
Edmund Kong, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
David W. Miller, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
David Leisawitz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Enrico Lorenzini, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Steve Sell, Payload Systems Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6268:
Advances in Stellar Interferometry
John D. Monnier; Markus Schöller; William C. Danchi, Editor(s)

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