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Intersatellite links and relative navigation

Pre-conditions for formation flights with pico- and nanosatellites
: Kurz, O.; Marszalek, M.; Drentschew, M.; Schmidt, M.; Schilling, K.


Bittanti, S. ; International Federation of Automatic Control -IFAC-:
18th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control 2011. Proceedings : Milano (Italy), August 28 - September 2, 2011
Braunschweig: IFAC, 2011
ISBN: 978-3-902661-93-7
International Federation of Automatic Control (World Congress) <18, 2011, Milano>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IIS ()

A group of satellites can be classified as a constellation, formation or cluster. Multiple coordinated satellites are described as a formation, if a closed-loop control is adjusted, thus providing a coordinated motion control on basis of their relative positions to preserve the topology (Schilling[2009]). This technology enables various application scenarios, for example, interferometry or in-orbit servicing and it is subject to multiple technological requirements related to formation flying, limited resources or scientific payloads. In the framework of the feasibility study NaKoFo, this paper discusses the potential benefits, drawbacks and problems associated with intersatellite links and relative navigation with pico- and nanosatellites. The requirements of an intersatellite link are analyzed based on frequency, modulation, antenna, power and network protocol. A short overview of adequate communication systems for pico- and nanosatellites is also presented. Technologies for relative position determination are presented and discussed regarding their applicability in small satellite systems as well as their requirements on an intersatellite link.