Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

rendezvous and docking Related Abstracts

4 Design of Data Management Software System Supporting Rendezvous and Docking with Various Spaceships

Authors: Zhan Panpan, Lu Lan, Sun Yong, He Xiongwen, Yan Dong, Gu Ming


The function of the two spacecraft docking network, the communication and control of a docking target with various spacecrafts is realized in the space lab data management system. In order to solve the problem of the complex data communication mode between the space lab and various spaceships, and the problem of software reuse caused by non-standard protocol, a data management software system supporting rendezvous and docking with various spaceships has been designed. The software system is based on CCSDS Spcecraft Onboard Interface Service(SOIS). It consists of Software Driver Layer, Middleware Layer and Appliaction Layer. The Software Driver Layer hides the various device interfaces using the uniform device driver framework. The Middleware Layer is divided into three lays, including transfer layer, application support layer and system business layer. The communication of space lab plaform bus and the docking bus is realized in transfer layer. Application support layer provides the inter tasks communitaion and the function of unified time management for the software system. The data management software functions are realized in system business layer, which contains telemetry management service, telecontrol management service, flight status management service, rendezvous and docking management service and so on. The Appliaction Layer accomplishes the space lab data management system defined tasks using the standard interface supplied by the Middleware Layer. On the basis of layered architecture, rendezvous and docking tasks and the rendezvous and docking management service are independent in the software system. The rendezvous and docking tasks will be activated and executed according to the different spaceships. In this way, the communication management functions in the independent flight mode, the combination mode of the manned spaceship and the combination mode of the cargo spaceship are achieved separately. The software architecture designed standard appliction interface for the services in each layer. Different requirements of the space lab can be supported by the use of standard services per layer, and the scalability and flexibility of the data management software can be effectively improved. It can also dynamically expand the number and adapt to the protocol of visiting spaceships. The software system has been applied in the data management subsystem of the space lab, and has been verified in the flight of the space lab. The research results of this paper can provide the basis for the design of the data manage system in the future space station.

Keywords: Data Management, Software System, space lab, rendezvous and docking

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3 6-Degree-Of-Freedom Spacecraft Motion Planning via Model Predictive Control and Dual Quaternions

Authors: Omer Burak Iskender, Keck Voon Ling, Vincent Dubanchet, Luca Simonini


This paper presents Guidance and Control (G&C) strategy to approach and synchronize with potentially rotating targets. The proposed strategy generates and tracks a safe trajectory for space servicing missions, including tasks like approaching, inspecting, and capturing. The main objective of this paper is to validate the G&C laws using a Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) setup with realistic rendezvous and docking equipment. Throughout this work, the assumption of full relative state feedback is relaxed by onboard sensors that bring realistic errors and delays and, while the proposed closed loop approach demonstrates the robustness to the above mentioned challenge. Moreover, G&C blocks are unified via the Model Predictive Control (MPC) paradigm, and the coupling between translational motion and rotational motion is addressed via dual quaternion based kinematic description. In this work, G&C is formulated as a convex optimization problem where constraints such as thruster limits and the output constraints are explicitly handled. Furthermore, the Monte-Carlo method is used to evaluate the robustness of the proposed method to the initial condition errors, the uncertainty of the target's motion and attitude, and actuator errors. A capture scenario is tested with the robotic test bench that has onboard sensors which estimate the position and orientation of a drifting satellite through camera imagery. Finally, the approach is compared with currently used robust H-infinity controllers and guidance profile provided by the industrial partner. The HIL experiments demonstrate that the proposed strategy is a potential candidate for future space servicing missions because 1) the algorithm is real-time implementable as convex programming offers deterministic convergence properties and guarantee finite time solution, 2) critical physical and output constraints are respected, 3) robustness to sensor errors and uncertainties in the system is proven, 4) couples translational motion with rotational motion.

Keywords: Model Predictive Control, Spacecraft Autonomy, rendezvous and docking, dual quaternion, real-time experimental test, space servicing

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2 A Tutorial on Model Predictive Control for Spacecraft Maneuvering Problem with Theory, Experimentation and Applications

Authors: O. B. Iskender, K. V. Ling, V. Dubanchet, L. Simonini


This paper discusses the recent advances and future prospects of spacecraft position and attitude control using Model Predictive Control (MPC). First, the challenges of the space missions are summarized, in particular, taking into account the errors, uncertainties, and constraints imposed by the mission, spacecraft and, onboard processing capabilities. The summary of space mission errors and uncertainties provided in categories; initial condition errors, unmodeled disturbances, sensor, and actuator errors. These previous constraints are classified into two categories: physical and geometric constraints. Last, real-time implementation capability is discussed regarding the required computation time and the impact of sensor and actuator errors based on the Hardware-In-The-Loop (HIL) experiments. The rationales behind the scenarios’ are also presented in the scope of space applications as formation flying, attitude control, rendezvous and docking, rover steering, and precision landing. The objectives of these missions are explained, and the generic constrained MPC problem formulations are summarized. Three key design elements used in MPC design: the prediction model, the constraints formulation and the objective cost function are discussed. The prediction models can be linear time invariant or time varying depending on the geometry of the orbit, whether it is circular or elliptic. The constraints can be given as linear inequalities for input or output constraints, which can be written in the same form. Moreover, the recent convexification techniques for the non-convex geometrical constraints (i.e., plume impingement, Field-of-View (FOV)) are presented in detail. Next, different objectives are provided in a mathematical framework and explained accordingly. Thirdly, because MPC implementation relies on finding in real-time the solution to constrained optimization problems, computational aspects are also examined. In particular, high-speed implementation capabilities and HIL challenges are presented towards representative space avionics. This covers an analysis of future space processors as well as the requirements of sensors and actuators on the HIL experiments outputs. The HIL tests are investigated for kinematic and dynamic tests where robotic arms and floating robots are used respectively. Eventually, the proposed algorithms and experimental setups are introduced and compared with the authors' previous work and future plans. The paper concludes with a conjecture that MPC paradigm is a promising framework at the crossroads of space applications while could be further advanced based on the challenges mentioned throughout the paper and the unaddressed gap.

Keywords: Convex optimization, Model Predictive Control, Spacecraft Autonomy, rendezvous and docking

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1 Hardware-In-The-Loop Relative Motion Control: Theory, Simulation and Experimentation

Authors: O. B. Iskender, K. V. Ling, V. Dubanchet, L. Simonini


This paper presents a Guidance and Control (G&C) strategy to address spacecraft maneuvering problem for future Rendezvous and Docking (RVD) missions. The proposed strategy allows safe and propellant efficient trajectories for space servicing missions including tasks such as approaching, inspecting and capturing. This work provides the validation test results of the G&C laws using a Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) setup with two robotic mockups representing the chaser and the target spacecraft. Through this paper, the challenges of the relative motion control in space are first summarized, and in particular, the constraints imposed by the mission, spacecraft and, onboard processing capabilities. Second, the proposed algorithm is introduced by presenting the formulation of constrained Model Predictive Control (MPC) to optimize the fuel consumption and explicitly handle the physical and geometric constraints in the system, e.g. thruster or Line-Of-Sight (LOS) constraints. Additionally, the coupling between translational motion and rotational motion is addressed via dual quaternion based kinematic description and accordingly explained. The resulting convex optimization problem allows real-time implementation capability based on a detailed discussion on the computational time requirements and the obtained results with respect to the onboard computer and future trends of space processors capabilities. Finally, the performance of the algorithm is presented in the scope of a potential future mission and of the available equipment. The results also cover a comparison between the proposed algorithms with Linear–quadratic regulator (LQR) based control law to highlight the clear advantages of the MPC formulation.

Keywords: Space Robotics, autonomous vehicles, Embedded Optimization, rendezvous and docking, real-time experiment

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