18 December 2002 An investigation of electromagnetic control for formation flight applications
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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.
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Laila Mireille Elias, Edmund M. Kong, David W. Miller, "An investigation of electromagnetic control for formation flight applications", Proc. SPIE 4849, Highly Innovative Space Telescope Concepts, (18 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.460678; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.460678
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