Intelligent Satellite Teams for Space Systems. (Position Paper)

K. Böhringer, M. E. Campbell and J. Vagners

We examine the development of Intelligent Satellite Teams (ISTg) for complex space missions such as construction of space hardware, or Earth or space science. ISTg are composed of many nanosatellites (mass < lkg) or picosatellites (mass < lg). IST development is a synergy of many disciplines, such as: intelligent control including formation flying, collision avoidance, knowledge sharing, and adaptive reconfiguration; microtechnology including microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microfabricated sensors and actuators, nanotechnology, and integrated wireless communication; mission analysis - highlevel planning and control of mission, satellites, and procedures. Recent rapid technological advances in these fields open up exciting new possibilities for future space missions. The longterm goal of this project is to combine these advances to devise systems-level approach for the construction of IST’s. Candidate missions include construction or servicing of space facilities such as space laboratories or telescopes; measurement of an asteroidh gravitational field using hundreds of picosatellites, and reconfiguration into phased antenna arrays for communication back to Earth. In this paper, we discuss the specific requirements for Intelligent Satellite Teams and describe sample missions in an ongoing feasibility study for IST~ with focus on intelligent control. The goal of this work is to develop design prototypes for intelligent teams of nano and pico satellites.


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