Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics ›› 2013, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (6): 879-888.doi: 10.1109/JSEE.2013.00102


On-orbit target tracking and inspection by satellite formation

Guang Zhai1,*, Jingrui Zhang1, and Zhicheng Zhou2   

  1. 1. School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China;
    2. China Academy of Space Technology, Beijing 100094, China
  • Online:2013-12-24 Published:2010-01-03


A new type of estimator is developed for the satellite formation to track and inspect on-orbit targets. The follower satellite in the formation works without relative sensors, and its target pointing commands are derived based on relative orbital dynamics. The centralized estimator based on truth measurement is designed, however, this estimator is proved unstable because of the lack of necessary measurement information. After that, an alternative estimator based on pseudo measurement is designed, and its observability and controllability are analyzed to qualitatively evaluate the convergence performance. Finally, an on-orbit target inspection scenario is numerically simulated to verify the performance of the estimator based on pseudo measurement.