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Project: RPO kit / End-to-End Autonomous GNC software

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Onboard guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) during rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) between spacecraft poses unique challenges for associated algorithms. Future missions will require greater on-board autonomy while maintaining in-orbit safety guarantees at varying distances, and scenarios such as satellite inspection, satellite servicing, or space debris removal may feature multiple cooperative or non-cooperative objects. 

The Space Rendezvous Laboratory’s “RPO kit”, developed in collaboration with Ten One aerospace, is a GNC software payload for distributed space systems that enables safe, autonomous RPO between multiple objects with maximum flexibility and modularity. Navigation algorithms fuse far-range camera images, close-range camera images, differential carrier-phase Global Navigation Satellite System data, and inter-satellite crosslink data to estimate absolute orbits, relative orbits, target pose, and auxiliary states across the entire regime of interest. A control algorithm suite provides optimal maneuver solutions for efficient long-term formation maintenance at far range, centimeter-level rendezvous accuracy at close range, and fast, robust collision avoidance. 

The RPO kit integrates many of the state-of-the-art GNC algorithms developed by the Space Rendezvous Laboratory into a single, highly capable system, taking advantage of extensive flight heritage to enable adaptive, end-to-end RPO for spacecraft. The software payload is being developed in tandem with a hardware kit from Ten One Aerospace, with the upcoming goal of verifying the complete, integrated system in the Space Rendezvous Laboratory’s test facilities.


Park, T. H., D'Amico, S.;  
Online Supervised Training of Spaceborne Vision during Proximity Operations using Adaptive Kalman Filtering;  
2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Yokohama, Japan, 2024.

Kruger, J., Guffanti, T., Park, T. H., Murray-Cooper, M. Low, S. Y. W., Bell, T., D’Amico, S., Roscoe, C., Westphal, J.;             
Adaptive End-to-End Architecture for Autonomous Spacecraft Navigation and Control During Rendezvous and Proximity Operations;  
2024 AIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, Orlando, Florida, January 8-12, 2024.

Kruger, J., D'Amico, S., Roscoe, C., Westphal, J.;                                
Angles-Only Tracking and Navigation for Approach and Rendezvous in Geosynchronous Orbits;                                
33rd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Austin, TX, January 15-19, 2023.

Park, T. H., D'Amico, S.;  
Online Supervised Training of Spaceborne Vision during Proximity Operations using Adaptive Kalman Filtering;  
arXiv preprint arxiv:2309.11645 (2023).