A Caltech Library Service

Swarm-Keeping Strategies for Spacecraft Under J_2 and Atmospheric Drag Perturbations

Morgan, Daniel and Chung, Soon-Jo and Blackmore, Lars and Acikmese, Behcet and Bayard, David and Hadaegh, Fred Y. (2012) Swarm-Keeping Strategies for Spacecraft Under J_2 and Atmospheric Drag Perturbations. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 35 (5). pp. 1492-1506. ISSN 0731-5090.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


This paper presents several new open-loop guidance methods for spacecraft swarms composed of hundreds to thousands of agents, with each spacecraft having modest capabilities. These methods have three main goals: preventing relative drift of the swarm, preventing collisions within the swarm, and minimizing the propellant used throughout the mission. The development of these methods progresses by eliminating drift using the Hill–Clohessy–Wiltshire equations, removing drift due to nonlinearity, and minimizing the J_2 drift. To verify these guidance methods, a new dynamic model for the relative motion of spacecraft is developed. These dynamics include the two main disturbances for spacecraft in low Earth orbit, J_2 and atmospheric drag. Using this dynamic model, numerical simulations are provided at each step to show the effectiveness of each method and to see where improvements can be made. The main result is a set of initial conditions for each spacecraft in the swarm, which provides the trajectories for hundreds of collision-free orbits in the presence of J_2. Finally, a multiburn strategy is developed to provide hundreds of collision-free orbits under the influence of atmospheric drag. This last method works by enforcing the initial conditions multiple times throughout the mission, thereby providing collision-free trajectories for the duration of the mission.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Chung, Soon-Jo0000-0002-6657-3907
Additional Information:© 2012 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The research was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Copyright © 2011 California Institute of Technology. This work was supported by a NASA Office of the Chief Technologist’s Space Technology Research Fellowship. Government sponsorship acknowledged. Additional thanks to Insu Chang, Austin Nicholas, Milan Mandic, and Marco Quadrelli for constructive comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Space Technology Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170123-081714017
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Daniel Morgan, Soon-Jo Chung, Lars Blackmore, Behcet Acikmese, David Bayard, and Fred Y. Hadaegh. "Swarm-Keeping Strategies for Spacecraft Under J2 and Atmospheric Drag Perturbations", Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 35, No. 5 (2012), pp. 1492-1506.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:73609
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 Jan 2017 17:15
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:29

Repository Staff Only: item control page