Pelayo Vázquez Rodríguez

Nationality: Spanish
Funding entity and Program: PIPF -Realization on INTA

PhD Thesis

Autonomous Control of Flight Formation by Drag and Lift Maneuvers at LEO, with the support of GPS system


Manuel Sanjurjo Rivo (UC3M)


This work trends to be the real nominal control implemented at ANSER-AT mission. The mission studies the atmosphere´s composition and contamination. At LEO orbit and four years lifespan.

Distributed payload allows optimization of weight and cost, being however necessary the implementation of a precise flight formation control. Here, our satellites go on an Indian file.

Avoid using a rocket motor facilitates all the space project phases. Since Design to AIV. Besides, the lack of motor increases the probability of being accepted for launching because the lack of motor decreases the risk made by the satellite to the main launched payload, much more expensive than the CubeSat. Nevertheless, the lack of motor forces to develop flight formation control by drag and lift maneuvers.

The mission is formed by four satellites. Each satellites carries a single focused wavelength spectrometer. First platform studies ozone concentration. Second one nitrogen oxides. Third one water vapor. And last one carbon dioxide. Our satellites go on an Indian file.
The satellites must maintain a maximum relative distance of seven kilometres in order to study the same air mass not evolved or changed. So, the difference between time arrival of sats at an air mass are seconds (it orbits at around seven kilometres/second).
This value imposes that flight formation control must be autonomous.
The software will be implemented under flight software rules. It must ponder precision with power and speed computing. All orbital perturbation must be tailored. Such as third boy effect, radiation pressure o number of spherical harmonics.
Finally, it is available GPS System, and probably ranging by ISL, for orbital navigation.

Project participation


Doctoral Meetings 2021-2022

PhD Aerospace Engineering Doctoral Meetings 21-22 – P. Vázquez

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