Micro-arcsecond line-of-sight filtered performance for spacecraft formation flying
Banas, William D.
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Formation Flying is the concept that multiple spacecraft can be arranged in a formation to perform tasks that are not possible with a single spacecraft, or tasks that can be done more efficiently or inexpensively with a group of small spacecraft. Many approaches have focused almost exclusively on directly improving the performance and accuracy of the hardware sensors used to determine the current orientation of the spacecraft. Here, orientation is related to the relative line-of-sight accuracy between one spacecraft and another, not the overall attitude. The approach in this thesis explores software filtering algorithms with the goal of determining the minimum hardware requirements (i.e. sensors, CPU) necessary to obtain micro-arcsecond line-of-sight pointing knowledge. This may allow for the use of less expensive hardware in future formation flying missions and may vastly improve mission capability.