Multi agent control for space based interferometry.
University of Southampton, School of Engineering Sciences,
Agent systems have been accepted and used advantageously by computer scientists since
their inception, but such systems have not been used so readily within the realms of control
engineering or robotics. The work contained within this thesis investigates separated
spacecraft interferometry in the context of a multi-agent system, under the influence of libration
point orbital dynamics. The main focus is on the development of key agent skills,
including state estimation, guidance, control and decision methods to attain the desired
system output; within the consideration of decision methods, a comparison between centralized
and distributed decisions is made. Whilst mainly focussing on the development
of these skills, additional considerations pertinent to agent system development are also
A discrete time control method, integrating Kalman filtering with sliding mode control
and using potential function guidance to achieve velocity tracking with six degrees of
freedom, is developed for the purposes of controlling agent motion. Whilst developed for
the purposes of spacecraft agent control, the presented methods are equally valid to any
other vehicular agent system such as UAVs or AUVs if considering inter-agent regulation.
Centralized and distributed decision methods are developed to enable appropriate autonomous
actions to be performed by the agent system. Primarily these actions include
selective attainment and regulation of a non-natural orbits relative to a central agent to
form an appropriate array configuration and instances of array reconfiguration to compensate
for both failed agents and to maximize the mission duration.
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