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Proceedings Paper

Investigation of electromagnetic control for formation flight applications
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Paper Abstract

The use of propellant to maintain the relative orientation of multiple spacecraft in a sparse aperture telescope such as NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) poses several issues. These include fuel depletion, optical contamination, plume impingement, thermal emission, and vibration excitation. An alternative is to eliminate the need for propellant, except for orbit transfer, and replace it with electromagnetic control. Relative separation, relative attitude, and inertial rotation of the array can all be controlled by creating electromagnetic dipoles on each spacecraft and varying their strengths and orientations. This paper addresses some of the control issues that arise when using electromagnets to control formation geometry.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 December 2002
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 4849, Highly Innovative Space Telescope Concepts, (18 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.460678
Show Author Affiliations
Laila Mireille Elias, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
Edmund M. Kong, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)
David W. Miller, MIT Space Systems Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4849:
Highly Innovative Space Telescope Concepts
Howard A. MacEwen, Editor(s)

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