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Navigation and Control of the TanDEM-X Formation

Montenbruck, Oliver and Kahle, Ralph and D'Amico, Simone and Ardaens, Jean-Sebastien (2009) Navigation and Control of the TanDEM-X Formation. Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, 56 (3), pp. 341-357.

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Germany is presently preparing the first operational formation flying mission for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry in low Earth orbit. TanDEM-X comprises two nearly identical satellites (TSX and TDX) that are launched with a two year time shift in 2007 and 2009, respectively. From 2009 onwards, the two satellites will fly in close proximity and collect SAR interferograms for digital elevation model (DEM) generation. The TanDEM-X mission profile is particularly challenging from a flight dynamics point of view and poses new needs for spacecraft navigation and control. These comprise the formation design, the ground-controlled and autonomous formation maintenance, as well the high-precision reconstruction of the interferometric baseline. The paper discusses the geometry of the TanDEM-X formation along with a relative motion model that forms the basis of the formation control concept and the autonomous onboard navigation. Furthermore, the orbit control and precise orbit determination of the primary spacecraft TSX is illustrated using actual flight data from the first 6 months of operations.

Document Type:Article
Title:Navigation and Control of the TanDEM-X Formation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Montenbruck, OliverUNSPECIFIED
Ardaens, Jean-SebastienUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of the Astronautical Sciences
Refereed publication:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 341-357
Keywords:TanDEM-X, formation flying, e/i-vector separation, orbit determination, GPS
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Projekt TanDEM-X (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Space Operations and Astronaut Training
Deposited By: Dr.rer.nat.hab. Oliver Montenbruck
Deposited On:01 Dec 2009 13:11
Last Modified:26 Feb 2013 15:04

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