Collision avoidance control for formation flying of multiple spacecraft using artificial potential field

Jiyoon Hwang, Jinah Lee, Chandeok Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents trajectory design/control for spacecraft formation flying with obstacle avoidance. Based on the artificial potential field (APF), a formation potential is first defined to derive a formation control law for virtual structure, which enables multiple spacecraft to maintain polygonal or tetrahedral formation. As an efficient method to circumvent local minima which often occur in the APF-based approach, a newly proposed rotational potential is derived in a local coordinate frame to add in the APF framework. The synthesized formation and rotational potential function is used to develop a gradient-based control law to design/control the formation flying trajectory while avoiding collision with obstacles. Proven to be asymptotically stable in the sense of Lyapunov, the proposed continuous feedback control law is demonstrated via formation keeping/reconfiguration examples. The proposed approach successfully maintains the trajectory in the desired formation without colliding with obstacles and without falling into local minimum. These results are comparatively analysed with those of other APF-based approaches. The overall analysis shows that the proposed rotational potential, which has been newly derived in this research, enables a group of spacecraft in formation to efficiently avoid collision with obstacles without convergence to a local minimum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2197-2209
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2018R1D1A1B07045759, 2021R1I1A204882411), and by a grant from “Fundamental Research for Korea Satellite Navigation System and Future Air Traffic Management” of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute funded by the Korea government (MSIT).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 COSPAR

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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