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Thursday, July 05, 2012
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)

Postdoc Seminar

Coulomb Formation Flying

Erik Hogan
University of Colorado

Spacecraft formation flying has gained significant research attention in recent years. The ability to concentrate scientific instruments dispersed over a region ranging from tens of meters to thousands of kilometers is useful for numerous applications. In order to maintain such formations, a method of formation control is needed. In this presentation, the use of electrostatic forces for formation maintenance (Coulomb formation flying) is considered. Here, active spacecraft charging is used to achieve charge levels of up to a few tens of kilovolts. For spacecraft separated by tens of meters this results in forces on the order of milliNewtons. In this presentation, we will discuss the inherent challenges present with this method of spacecraft formation control and review the last decade of research in this area. Proposed applications for Coulomb formation flying will be covered, along with the current state of the art.

Host: Gian Luca Delzanno, T-5, 667-2604