Robust on-board spacecraft guidance in cislunar space under uncertainty

Sponsor: Purdue University

This project develops an autonomous, on-board guidance framework for robust spacecraft operations within cislunar multi-body dynamical environments. As represented by NASA's Lunar Gateway and Artemis program, cislunar space will be one of the key locations of space exploration in the coming decades. As more spacecraft visit and stay in cislunar space, the capability of autonomous, on-board spacecraft guidance increasingly becomes crucial given the limited bandwidth of communication for ground-based spacecraft operations. Achieving such on-board guidance capability requires addressing multifold technological challenges, including robust maneuver planning under uncertainty, relative and absolute on-board navigation in cislunar space, and real-time algorithm implementation on spacecraft onboard computers with verifiable performance. This project addresses these challenges based on a stochastic optimal control approach that explicitly incorporates the navigation process into robust maneuver planning, ensuring the safety of spacecraft operations under uncertainty (e.g., insertion into target orbits, no collision with the Moon, and no departure from orbits).