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See detailProbabilistic Assessment of the Lifetime of Low-Earth-Orbit Spacecraft: Uncertainty Characterization
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Arnst, Maarten ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Journal of Guidance Control & Dynamics (2014)

Orbital lifetime estimation is a problem of great timeliness and importance in astrodynamics. In view of the stochastic nature of the thermosphere and of the complexity of drag modeling, any deterministic ... [more ▼]

Orbital lifetime estimation is a problem of great timeliness and importance in astrodynamics. In view of the stochastic nature of the thermosphere and of the complexity of drag modeling, any deterministic assessment of orbital lifetime is likely to be bound to failure. This is why the present paper performs uncertainty quantification of satellite orbital lifetime estimation. Specifically, this paper focuses on the probabilistic characterization of the dominant sources of uncertainty inherent to low-altitude satellites. Uncertainties in the initial state of the satellite and in the atmospheric drag force, as well as uncertainties introduced by modeling limitations associated with atmospheric density models, are considered. Mathematical statistics methods, in conjunction with mechanical modeling considerations, are used to infer the probabilistic characterization of these uncertainties from experimental data and atmospheric density models. This characterization step facilitates the application of uncertainty propagation and sensitivity analysis methods, which in turn allows gaining insight into the impact that these uncertainties have on the orbital lifetime. The proposed developments are illustrated using one CubeSat of the QB50 constellation. [less ▲]

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See detailRobust optimal rendezvous using differential drag
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Martinusi, Vladimir ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Proceedings of the AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference (2014)

The practical realization of the differential drag technique for orbital relative maneuvers must cope with the several and severe uncertainty sources affecting drag modeling. Neglecting these ... [more ▼]

The practical realization of the differential drag technique for orbital relative maneuvers must cope with the several and severe uncertainty sources affecting drag modeling. Neglecting these uncertainties might yield to oversimplified solutions whose representation of a real-life scenario is questionable. The first outcome of this study consists in the synthesis of a robust optimal controller which combines differential flatness theory and the scenario approach to generate a reference path which can be easily followed. The second outcome is the characterization of the relevant uncertainties of the differential drag problem, with a special focus on the aerodynamic force. The developments are validated in a highly detailed simulation environment including, among the perturbations, advanced drag modeling and coupled attitude and orbital dynamics. [less ▲]

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See detailValidation of differential drag propellantless maneuvers using 6 DoF simulations and stochastic dynamics
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Proceedings of the 9th International ESA Conference on Guidance, Navigation & Control Systems (2014)

Differential drag is regarded as a promising technique in low-Earth orbits, since it allows to turn the often-undesired drag perturbation into a control force for relative maneuvers. Nonetheless, relevant ... [more ▼]

Differential drag is regarded as a promising technique in low-Earth orbits, since it allows to turn the often-undesired drag perturbation into a control force for relative maneuvers. Nonetheless, relevant uncertainties in drag modeling make its practical realization a challenge, especially if no other propulsive means is available to accommodate them. The main outcome of this study is the identification and characterization of the uncertainty sources affecting differential-drag-based maneuvers. This characterization is carried out by using statistical methods in conjunction with mechanical modeling considerations to infer a probabilistic model of the sources from observed data. The developments are illustrated in the framework of the QARMAN mission through high-fidelity simulations involving coupled attitude and orbital dynamics. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalytic Model for The Motion About An Oblate Planet in The Presence Atmospheric Drag
Martinusi, Vladimir ULg; Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Advances in The Astronautical Sciences (2014)

The paper introduces a new model for the motion about an oblate planet under the influence of the atmospheric drag. Both qualitative and quantitative insights are revealed, as well as closed-form ... [more ▼]

The paper introduces a new model for the motion about an oblate planet under the influence of the atmospheric drag. Both qualitative and quantitative insights are revealed, as well as closed-form equations of motion. The main tool consists in averaging the effects of both perturbations (oblateness and drag), and deriving the variational equations for the vectorial orbital elements. The model is singularity-free and may serve as an initial guess for control problems, as well as an analytic propagator. [less ▲]

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See detailRobust rendez-vous planning using the scenario approach and differential flatness
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Advances in the Astronautical Sciences (2014)

There is a growing interest in uncertainty handling in the spacecraft dynamics community. In particular, robust optimization of spacecraft maneuvers is regarded as an important challenge. This paper ... [more ▼]

There is a growing interest in uncertainty handling in the spacecraft dynamics community. In particular, robust optimization of spacecraft maneuvers is regarded as an important challenge. This paper proposes an optimal control approach for orbital rendez-vous planning under stochastic dynamics and constraints. The method combines differential flatness theory with the scenario approach for optimization under uncertainties. By mapping state and control variables into a set of flat outputs, the enforcement of dynamics equations and boundary conditions is automatically satisfied. The rigorous foundations of the scenario approach lead to a finite-dimensional formulation of the problem which guarantees the feasibility of the solution within an arbitrary portion of the stochastic domain. The methodology is illustrated by means of two case studies involving a rendez-vous in elliptic orbit and a propellantless maneuver using differential drag, respectively. [less ▲]

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See detailUncertainty quantification of the orbital lifetime of a LEO spacecraft
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Proceedings of the Astrodynamics Specialist Conference (2013, August 12)

Orbital lifetime estimation is a problem of great timeliness and importance in astrodynamics. In view of the stochastic nature of the thermosphere and of the complexity of drag modeling, any deterministic ... [more ▼]

Orbital lifetime estimation is a problem of great timeliness and importance in astrodynamics. In view of the stochastic nature of the thermosphere and of the complexity of drag modeling, any deterministic assessment of orbital lifetime is likely to be bound to failure. This is why the present paper performs uncertainty quantification of satellite orbital lifetime estimation. Uncertainties in the initial state of the satellite and in the atmospheric drag force, as well as uncertainties introduced by modeling limitations associated with atmospheric density models, are considered. Mathematical statistics methods in conjunction with mechanical modeling considerations are used to infer the probabilistic characterization of these uncertainties from experimental data and atmospheric density models. Monte Carlo propagation is then exploited to achieve a probabilistic description of the orbital lifetime. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison between analytical and optimal control techniques in the differential drag based rendez-vous
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Spacecraft Formation Flying Missions & Technologies (2013, May 29)

The focus of this study is on differential drag for propellantless satellite rendez-vous. This technique is particularly attractive for low-Earth-orbit small satellites for which stringent weight ... [more ▼]

The focus of this study is on differential drag for propellantless satellite rendez-vous. This technique is particularly attractive for low-Earth-orbit small satellites for which stringent weight constraints apply. Most existing contributions are based on bang-bang strategies, which may be difficult to implement in practice. This is why the present paper proposes a novel strategy integrating pseudospectral optimal control for maneuver planning and model predictive control for dealing with uncertainties and unmodeled dynamics. One important advantage of this methodology is that it can naturally account for attitude dynamics and constraints, which, in turn, paves the way for the practical realization of differential drag-based rendez-vous. A realistic scenario involving two nanosatellites of the QB50 constellation is considered to illustrate and validate the proposed developments. In addition, a comparison of this numerical technique with an existing analytic solution is carried out, and their respective pros and cons are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailElements of stochastic processes 2012--2013: course material
Arnst, Maarten ULg; Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg

Learning material (2013)

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See detailStochastic modeling in mechanics 2012--2013: course material
Arnst, Maarten ULg; Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg

Learning material (2013)

Detailed reference viewed: 185 (74 ULg)
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See detailScientific and Technological Payloads Aboard the B3LSat CubeSat of the QB50 Network
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg; Delabie, Tjorven et al

in Proceedings of the 2nd IAA Conference on University Satellite Missions and Cubesat Workshop (2013)

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See detailPropellantless rendez-vous of QB50 nanosatellites
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Proceedings of the 63rd IAC (2012)

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See detailOrbital rendez-vous using differential drag in the QB50 constellation
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg; Kerschen, Gaëtan ULg

in Proceedings of the AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference (2012)

Detailed reference viewed: 27 (11 ULg)