Safe, autonomous on-orbit satellite servicing with risk-aware 6DoF guidance

Sponsor: Purdue University

This project addresses a critical challenge in on-orbit satellite servicing technologies: safe, autonomous operations of servicing satellites. On-orbit satellite servicing technologies, such as on-orbit inspection, refueling, and repairing, increasingly become essential for maintaining and further expanding our activities in space by enabling the reuse and recycle of satellites after their original lifespans. One of the major bottlenecks to promoting such technologies is guaranteeing the safety of satellite operations in the vicinity of other (possibly uncooperative) objects in space while allowing the satellites to operate autonomously. To address this issue, this project develops a novel 6 DoF (i.e., attitude and orbit) spacecraft guidance framework based on stochastic optimal control and demonstrate the framework with high-fidelity dynamical environment simulators incorporating various sources of realistic uncertainty in low-Earth orbits.