Spacecraft formation orbit estimation using WLPS-based localization

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This paper studies the implementation of a novel wireless local positioning system (WLPS) for spacecraft formation flying to maintain high-performance spacecraft relative and absolute position estimation. A WLPS equipped with antenna arrays allows each spacecraft to measure the relative range and coordinate angle(s) of other spacecraft located in its coverage area. The dynamic base station and the transponder of WLPS enable spacecraft to localize each other in the formation. Because the signal travels roundtrip in WLPS, and due to the high spacecraft velocities, the signal transmission time delay reduces the localization performance. This work studies spacecraft formation positions estimation performance assuming that only WLPS is available onboard. The feasibility of estimating the spacecraft absolute position using only one-dimensional antenna array is also investigated. The effect of including GPS measurements in addition to WLPS is studied and compared to a GPS standalone system. © 2011 Shu Ting Goh et al.

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International Journal of Navigation and Observation