Guidance, Navigation & Control of spacecraft formations using electromagnetic force


Formation flying (FF) refers to the concept of flying multiple spacecrafts while maintaining a fixed or time-varying configuration. Conventional FF which relies on thrusters and propellants suffers from limited lifetime and plume impingement. Electromagnetic FF (EMFF) on the other hand mitigates these challenges by utilizing superconducting electromagnets to generate relative forces and torques that can control a satellite formation. Nonetheless, EMFF still faces several challenges in terms of angular momentum buildup and thermal accumulation. This research aims to tackle these challenges using two distinct approaches. The first of which applies optimal guidance and control methods to target the shortcomings of EMFF, while the second approach looks into modulating electromagnetic fields within a formation to provide enhanced electromagnetic interactions.