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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5451908, 10 pages
Research Article

Time and Covariance Threshold Triggered Optimal Uncooperative Rendezvous Using Angles-Only Navigation

1The College of Aerospace Science and Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China
2Swiss Space Center, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
3Signal Processing Lab (LTS5), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
4The Manned Space Technology System Center, Beijing 100094, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Yue You

Received 2 April 2016; Accepted 13 November 2016; Published 24 January 2017

Academic Editor: Paul Williams

Copyright © 2017 Yue You et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A time and covariance threshold triggered optimal maneuver planning method is proposed for orbital rendezvous using angles-only navigation (AON). In the context of Yamanaka-Ankersen orbital relative motion equations, the square root unscented Kalman filter (SRUKF) AON algorithm is developed to compute the relative state estimations from a low-volume/mass, power saving, and low-cost optical/infrared camera’s observations. Multi-impulsive Hill guidance law is employed in closed-loop linear covariance analysis model, based on which the quantitative relative position robustness and relative velocity robustness index are defined. By balancing fuel consumption, relative position robustness, and relative velocity robustness, we developed a time and covariance threshold triggered two-level optimal maneuver planning method, showing how these results correlate to past methods and missions and how they could potentially influence future ones. Numerical simulation proved that it is feasible to control the spacecraft with a two-line element- (TLE-) level uncertain, 34.6% of range, initial relative state to a 100 m v-bar relative station keeping point, at where the trajectory dispersion reduces to 3.5% of range, under a 30% data gap per revolution on account of the eclipse. Comparing with the traditional time triggered maneuver planning method, the final relative position accuracy is improved by one order and the relative trajectory robustness and collision probability are obviously improved and reduced, respectively.