JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

Autonomous Formation Flying (AFF) Sensor for Precision Formation Flying Missions

Presented by:
MiMi Aung
Tracking Systems & Applications Section (335)


The Autonomous Formation Flying (AFF) Sensor is a radio-frequency sensor for precise determination of relative ranges and bearing angles among multiple spacecraft. It is applicable to future precision formation flying missions where the multiple-spacecraft formation is controlled to centimeter level in range and arc-minute level in the bearing angles. The AFF Sensor provides knowledge of the ranges and bearing angles with maximum uncertainties of 2 cm and 1 arc-minute respectively, and provide a wide field-of-view for global coverage required for initial acquisition of the formation and for recovery from "lost-in-space". It is autonomous in that it is a stand-alone system with no requirement on the Global Position System (GPS) or real-time control from the ground, therefore applicable to deep space as well as near-Earth applications.

MiMi Aung has been the project element manager for the AFF Sensor in the StarLight Project. Currently she is the acting project element manager for Formation Flying Technology area within the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) pre-project technology program. Previously, she has been a PEM in the Deep Space Network.

The Speaker

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