This paper presents a new state-of-the-art ground-based hardware-in-the-loop test facility, which was developed to verify and demonstrate autonomous guidance, navigation, and control algorithms for space proximity operations and formation flying maneuvers. The test facility consists of two complete spaceflight simulators, an aluminum-based operational arena, and a set of infrared motion tracking cameras; thus, the testbed is capable of representing space activities under circumstances prevailing on the ground. The spaceflight simulators have a maximum of five-degree-of-freedom in a quasi-momentum-free environment, which is produced by a set of linear/hemispherical air-bearings and a horizontally leveled operational arena. The tracking system measures the real-time three-dimensional position and attitude to provide state variables to the agents. The design of the testbed is illustrated in detail for every element throughout the paper. The practical hardware characteristics of the active/passive measurement units and internal actuators are identified in detail from various perspectives. These experimental results support the successful development of the entire facility and enable us to implement and verify the spacecraft proximity operation strategy in the near future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering