Adaptive output feedback tracking control of spacecraft formation

Hong Wong, Vikram Kapila, Andrew G. Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, an adaptive, output feedback control design methodology is presented for a spacecraft formation flying (SFF) system. A Lagrangian derivation of the SFF model is considered to produce position dynamics for follower spacecraft #n relative to follower spacecraft #(n - 1), where n is an arbitrary positive integer, assuming that the leader spacecraft in the formation follows a no-thrust, natural, elliptical orbit. Next, a control law is designed to provide a filtered velocity measurement and a desired adaptive compensation with semi-global, asymptotic, relative position tracking. To show the efficacy of the control algorithm, all desired trajectories are generated online by numerically solving the unperturbed nonlinear SFF dynamics with initial conditions satisfying a no-thrust, natural orbit constraint equation. The proposed control law is simulated for the case of two and three spacecraft and is shown to yield semi-global, asymptotic tracking of the relative position in addition to the convergence of disturbance parameter estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-139
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Adaptive control
  • Output feedback
  • Spacecraft formation flying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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