Autonomous motion planning for spacecrafts near small solar system bodies: simultaneously refining the gravitational field model and re-planning gravity dependant maneuvers
Paul, Aditya Savio
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Small solar system bodies can be better studied while orbiting in their vicinity. However, orbital motion around such bodies is challenging due to their irregular and weaker gravity as compared to larger bodies. Moreover, a-priori paths developed by earth-based measurements tend to generate monolithic trajectories. Dynamic path planning in space has the potential to improve the study of small solar system bodies. Fine-grained motion plans require detailed knowledge of the gravitational forces, that can be measured in the sphere of influence. The gravity models can be analysed for mass and material distribution across the body. We propose a method for autonomous motion planning around small solar system bodies that simultaneously measures and refines the gravitational model. The trajectories are replanned considering the updated model to perform stable orbital maneuvers eventually providing a high fidelity gravity model. The research shall enable the spacecraft to perform autonomous maneuvers, design landing strategies and scout for in-situ resources.
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