Convex Trajectory optimization for the Soft-Capture Problem

Convex Trajectory optimization for the Soft-Capture Problem

We present a fast trajectory optimization algorithm for the soft capture of uncooperative tumbling space objects. Our algorithm generates safe, dynamically feasible, and minimum-fuel trajectories for a six-degree-of-freedom servicing spacecraft to achieve soft capture (near-zero relative velocity at contact) between predefined locations on the servicer spacecraft and target body. We solve a convex problem by enforcing a convex relaxation of the field-of-view constraint, followed by a sequential convex program correcting the trajectory for collision avoidance. The optimization problems can be solved with a standard second-order cone programming solver, making the algorithm both fast and practical for implementation in flight software. We demonstrate the performance and robustness of our algorithm in simulation over a range of object tumble rates up to 10 °/s.

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PDF A Convex Formulation of the Soft-Capture Problem
Ibrahima S. Sow, Geordan Gutow, Howie Choset, and Zac Manchester
IEEE International Conference on Space Robotics (iSpaRo). Luxembourg, Luxembourg. (Accepted)


Ibrahima S. Sow
Optimization and Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Zac Manchester
Assistant Professor
Last updated: 2024-05-05