Purdue University Graduate School
Master's_Thesis_(Sonali_Sinha_Roy).pdf (2.41 MB)

A Consensus-based Distributed Algorithm for Reconfiguration of Spacecraft Formations

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posted on 2020-12-15, 19:02 authored by Sonali Sinha RoySonali Sinha Roy
Spacecraft formation flying refers to the coordinated operation of a group of spacecraft with a common objective. While the concept has been in existence for a long time, practical fruition of the ideas was not possible earlier due to technological limitations. The topic has received widespread attention in the last decade, with the development of autonomous control, improved computational facilities and better communication technology. It allows a number of small, lightweight, economical spacecraft to work together to execute the function of a larger, heavier, more complex and expensive spacecraft. The primary advantage of such systems is that they are flexible, modular, and cost-effective.

The flexibility of formation flying and other derived concepts comes from the fact that the units are not physically attached, allowing them to change position or orientation when the need arises. To fully realize this possibility, it is important to develop methods for spatial reorganization. This thesis is an attempt to contribute to this development.

In this thesis, the reconfiguration problem has been formulated as a single system with multiple inputs and multiple outputs, while preserving the individuality of the agents to a certain degree. The agents are able to communicate with their neighbors by sharing information. In this framework, a distributed closed-loop stabilizing controller has been developed, that would drive the spacecraft formation to a target shape. An expression for the controller gain as a function of the graph Laplacian eigenvalues has also been derived. The practical applications of this work have been demonstrated through simulations


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Inseok Hwang

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Dr. Martin Corless

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Shaoshuai Mou