Hybrid Control for Autonomous Spacecraft Rendezvous Proximity Operations and Docking

Jason R. Crane, Christopher W.T. Roscoe, Bharani P. Malladi, Giulia Zucchini, Eric Butcher, Ricardo G. Sanfelice, Islam I. Hussein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A hybrid control methodology is presented for autonomous rendezvous, proximity operations and docking of a pair of spacecraft. For the theoretical development of the control algorithms, the dynamics of the spacecraft are modeled using the Clohessy-Wiltshire-Hill equations, which result in a linear system of relative motion equations. Only in-plane motion is considered, resulting in a two-dimensional system, and the control input is the acceleration vector of the active spacecraft, constrained by a maximum thrust value. Individual controllers are designed for different phases of the of approach and transitions are governed by a hybrid supervising algorithm. The hybrid control algorithm is implemented both in MATLAB, using a simplified dynamic model, as well as in actual spacecraft flight code and tested in a high-fidelity spacecraft simulation test environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-99
Number of pages6
JournalIFAC Workshop on Networked & Autonomous Air & Space Systems NAASS 2018: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 13-15 June 2018
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Clohessy-Wiltshire-Hill equations
  • aerospace control
  • hybrid systems
  • satellite control
  • spacecraft autonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


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