Non-linear pulsed guidance for asteroid close-proximity operations

Roberto Furfaro, John N. Kidd, Daniel R. Wibben

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Autonomous close proximity operations (hovering, landing, Touch-And-Go maneuvers) in the low-gravity environment exhibited by asteroids is particularly challenging. A set of non-linear, pulsed guidance algorithms have been developed for spacecraft that are required to execute autonomous closed-loop guidance to a designated point on the asteroid environment. The guidance algorithms development rely on the definition of a Lyapunov-like descent function that has the property of being negative definite along the trajectory defining the motion of the spacecraft. More specifically, we have defined a) a quickest descent pulsed guidance, where at each point along the guided trajectory, one selects a combination of thrusters (on-off mode) that makes the derivative of the descent function as negative as possible and b) a least effort pulsed guidance where one selects the combination of thrusters that ensure the minimum number of pulsing along the guided trajectory. The derived pulsed guidance laws require information about the current state and the target state and generates a class of feedback trajectories that have a built-in proof of global stability. Guidance simulations in asteroid dynamical environment modeling the spacecraft motion around 433 Eros show that the guidance approach is suitable for autonomously targeting positions and velocity during close-proximity operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAstrodynamics 2013 - Advances in the Astronautical Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference
PublisherUnivelt Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780877036050
StatePublished - 2014
Event2013 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Astrodynamics 2013 - Hilton Head Island, SC, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2013Aug 15 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


Other2013 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Astrodynamics 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHilton Head Island, SC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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