Open access peer-reviewed chapter

On Six DOF Relative Orbital Motion of Satellites

By Daniel Condurache

Submitted: October 28th 2017Reviewed: January 8th 2018Published: February 14th 2018

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.73563

Downloaded: 878


In this chapter, we reveal a dual-tensor-based procedure to obtain exact expressions for the six degree of freedom (6-DOF) relative orbital law of motion in the specific case of two Keplerian confocal orbits. The result is achieved by pure analytical methods in the general case of any leader and deputy motion, without singularities or implying any secular terms. Orthogonal dual tensors play a very important role, with the representation of the solution being, to the authors’ knowledge, the shortest approach for describing the complete onboard solution of the 6-DOF orbital motion problem. The solution does not depend on the local-vertical–local-horizontal (LVLH) properties involves that is true in any reference frame of the leader with the origin in its mass center. A representation theorem is provided for the full-body initial value problem. Furthermore, the representation theorems for rotation part and translation part of the relative motion are obtained.


  • relative orbital motion
  • full body problem
  • dual algebra
  • Lie group
  • Lie algebra
  • closed form solution

1. Introduction

The relative motion between the leader and the deputy in the relative motion is a six-degrees-of-freedom (6-DOF) motion engendered by the joining of the relative translational motion with the rotational one. Recently, the modeling of the 6-DOF motion of spacecraft gained a special attention [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], similar to the controlling the relative pose of satellite formation that became a very important research subject [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. The approach implies to consider the relative translational and rotational dynamics in the case of chief-deputy spacecraft formation to be modeled using vector and tensor formalism.

In this chapter we reveal a dual algebra tensor based procedure to obtain exact expressions for the six D.O.F relative orbital law of motion for the case of two Keplerian confocal orbits. Orthogonal dual tensors play a very important role, the representation of the solution being, to the authors’ knowledge, the shortest approach for describing the complete onboard solution of the six D.O.F relative orbital motion problem. Because the solution does not depend on the LVLH properties involves that is true in any reference frame of the Leader with the origin in its mass center. To obtain this solution, one has to know only the inertial motion of the Leader spacecraft and the initial conditions of the deputy satellite in the local-vertical-local-horizontal (LVLH) frame. For the full body initial value problem, a general representation theorem is given. More, the real and imaginary parts are split and representation theorems for the rotation and translation parts of the relative orbital motion are obtained. Regarding translation, we will prove that this problem is super-integrable by reducing it to the classic Kepler problem.

The chapter is structured as following. The second section is dedicated to the rigid body motion parameterization using orthogonal dual tensors, dual quaternions and other different vector parameterization. The Poisson-Darboux problem is extended in dual Lie algebra. In the third section, the state equations for a rigid body motion relative to an arbitrary non-inertial reference frame are determined. Using the obtained result, in the fourth section, the representation theorem and the complete solution for the case of onboard full-body relative orbital motion problem is given. The last section is designated to the conclusions and to the future works.


2. Rigid body motion parameterization using dual Lie algebra

The key notions that will be presented in this section are tensorial, vectorial and non-vectorial parameterizations that can be used to properly describe the rigid-body motion. We discuss the properties of proper orthogonal dual tensorial maps. The proper orthogonal tensorial maps are related with the skew-symmetric tensorial maps via the Darboux–Poisson equation. Orthogonal dual tensorial maps are a powerful instrument in the study of the rigid motion with respect to an inertial and noninertial reference frames. More on dual numbers, dual vectors and dual tensors can be found in [2, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23].

2.1. Isomorphism between Lie group of the rigid displacements SE3and Lie group of the orthogonal dual tensors SO¯3

Let the orthogonal dual tensor set be denoted by.


where SO3¯is the set of special orthogonal dual tensors and I¯is the unit orthogonal dual tensor.

The internal structure of any orthogonal dual tensor R¯SO¯3is illustrated in a series of results which were detailed in our previous work [17, 18, 23].

Theorem 1.(Structure Theorem). For anyR¯SO¯3a unique decomposition is viable


where QSO3and ρV3are called structural invariants, ε2=0, ε0.

Taking into account the Lie group structure of SO¯3and the result presented in previous theorem, it can be concluded that any orthogonal dual tensor R¯SO¯3can be used globally parameterize displacements of rigid bodies.

Theorem 2(Representation Theorem). For any orthogonal dual tensorR¯defined as in (Eq. (2)), a dual numberα¯=α+εdand a dual unit vectoru¯=u+εu0can be computed to have the following Eq.[17, 18]:


The parameters α¯and u¯are called the natural invariantsof R¯. The unit dual vector u¯gives the Plücker representation of the Mozzi-Chalses axis [16, 24] while the dual angle α¯=α+εdcontains the rotation angle αand the translated distance d.

The Lie algebra of the Lie group SO¯3is the skew-symmetric dual tensor set denoted by so¯3=α¯LV¯3V¯3α¯=α¯T, where the internal mapping is α¯1α¯2=α¯1α¯2.

The link between the Lie algebra so¯3, the Lie group SO¯3, and the exponential map is given by the following.

Theorem 3.The mapping is well defined and surjective.


Any screw axis that embeds a rigid displacement is parameterized by a unit dual vector, whereas the screw parameters (angle of rotation around the screw and the translation along the screw axis) is structured as a dual angle. The computation of the screw axis is bound to the problem of finding the logarithm of an orthogonal dual tensor R¯, that is a multifunction defined by the following equation:


and is the inverse of (Eq. (4)).

From Theorem 2and Theorem 3, for any orthogonal dual tensor R¯, a dual vector ψ¯=α¯u¯=ψ+εψ0is computed, represents the screw dual vectoror Euler dual vector(that includes the screw axis and screw parameters) and the form of ψ¯implies that ψ¯logR¯. The types of rigid displacements that is parameterized by the Euler dual vector ψ¯as below:

  1. roto-translation if ψ0,ψ00andψψ00ψ¯R¯andψεR;

  2. pure translation if ifψ=0andψ00ψ¯εR¯;

  3. pure rotation if ψ0andψψ0=0ψ¯R.

Also, ψ<2π, Theorem 2and Theorem 3can be used to uniquely recover the screw dual vector ψ¯, which is equivalent with computing logR¯.

Theorem 4.The natural invariantsα¯=α+εd,u¯=u+εu0can be used to directly recover the structural invariantsQandρfrom (Eq. (2)):


To prove (Eq. (6)), we need to use (Eq. (2)) and (Eq. (3)). If these equations are equal, then the structure of their dual parts leads to the result presented in (Eq. (6)).

Theorem 5.(Isomorphism Theorem): The special Euclidean groupSE3andSO¯3are connected via the isomorphism of the Lie groups


whereg=Qρ01, ΦSO3, ρV3.

Proof. For any g1,g2SE3, the map defined in (Eq. (7)) yields


Let R¯SO¯3. Based on Theorem 1, which ensures a unique decomposition, we can conclude that the only choice for g, such that Φg=R¯is g=Qρ01. This underlines that Φis a bijection and keeps all the internal operations.

Remark 1:The inverse of Φis


where Q=ReR¯,ρ=vectDuR¯QT.

2.2. Dual tensor-based parameterizations of rigid-body motion

The Lie group SO¯3admits multiple parameterization and few of them will be discussed in this section.

2.2.1. The exponential parameterization (the Euler dual vector parameterization)

If R¯=R¯α¯u¯, then we can construct the Euler dual vector(screw dual vector) ψ¯=α¯u¯,ψ¯V¯3which combined with Theorem 2and Theorem 3lead to




2.2.2. Dual quaternion parameterization

One of the most important non-vectorial parameterizations for the orthogonal dual tensor SO¯3is given by the dual quaternions [20, 21]. A dual quaternion can be defined as an associated pair of a dual scalar quantity and a free dual vector:


The set of dual quaternions will be denoted Q¯and is organized as a R¯-module of rank 4, if dual quaternion addition and multiplication with dual numbers are considered.

The product of two dual quaternions q̂¯1=q¯1q¯1and q̂¯2=q¯2q¯2is defined by


From the above properties, results that the R¯-module Q¯becomes an associative, non-commutative linear dual algebra of rank 4 over the ring of dual numbers. For any dual quaternion defined by (Eq. (12)), the conjugate denoted by q̂¯=q¯q¯and the norm denoted by q̂¯2=q̂¯q̂¯can be computed. For q̂¯=1, any dual quaternion is called unit dual quaternion. Regarded solely as a free R¯-module, Q¯contains two remarkable sub-modules: Q¯R¯and Q¯V¯3. The first one composed from pairs q¯0¯,q¯R¯, isomorphic with R¯, and the second one, containing the pairs 0¯q¯,q¯V¯3, isomorphic with V¯3. Also, any dual quaternion can be written as q̂¯=q¯+q¯, where q¯=q¯0¯and q¯=0¯q¯, or q̂¯=q̂+εq̂0, where q̂,q̂0are real quaternions. The scalar and the vector parts of a dual unit quaternion are also known as dual Euler parameters[19].

Let denote with Uthe set of unit quaternions and with U¯the set of unit dual quaternions. For any q̂¯U¯, the following equation is valid [17, 20]:


where ρV3and q̂U. This representation is the quaternionic counterpart to (Eq. (2)). Also a dual number α¯and a unit dual vector u¯exist so that:


Remark 2:The mapping exp:V¯3U¯,q̂¯=exp12Ψ¯, is well defined and surjective.

Remark 3:The dual unit quaternions set U¯, by the multiplication of dual quaternions, is a Lie group with V¯3being it’s associated Lie algebra (with the cross product between dual vectors as the internal operation).

Using the internal structure of any element from SO¯3the following theorem is valid:

Theorem 6.The Lie groupsU¯andSO¯3are linked by a surjective homomorphism


Proof. Taking into account that any q̂¯U¯can be decomposed as in (Eq. (15)), results that q̂¯=expα¯u¯SO¯3. This shows that relation (Eq. (16)) is well defined and surjective. Using direct calculus, we can also acknowledge that q̂¯2q̂¯1=q̂¯2q̂¯1.

An important property of the previous homomorphism is that for q̂¯and q̂¯we can associate the same orthogonal dual tensor, which shows that (Eq. (16)) is not injective and U¯is a double cover of SO¯3.

2.2.3. N-order modified fractional Cayley transform for dual vectors

Next, we present a series of results that are the core of our research. These results are obtained after using a set of Cayley transforms that are different than the ones already reported in literature [17, 25, 26, 27].

Theorem 7.The fractional order Cayley mapf:V¯3U¯


is well defined and surjective.

Proof.Using direct calculus results that fv¯fv¯=1and fv¯=1. The surjectivity is proved by the following theorem.

Theorem 8.The inverse of the previous fractional order Cayley map, is a multifunction with n branchesf1:U¯V¯3given by


Remark 4:Ifv¯Rthencayn2v¯is the parameterization of a pure rotation about an axis which does not necessarily pass through the origin of reference system. Meanwhile, ifv¯εRthe mappingcayn2v¯is the parameterization of a pure translation. Otherwise,cayn2v¯is the parameterization of roto-translation.

Taking into account that a dual number α¯and a dual vector u¯exist in order to have


from (Eq. (18)), results that:


The previous equation contains both the principal parameterization v¯0=tanα¯2nu¯, which is the higher order Rodrigues dual vector, while for k=1n1the dual vectors v¯k=tanα¯+22nu¯are the shadow parameterization[25] that can be used to describe the same pose. Based on v¯0=tanα¯2nand v¯k=tanα¯+22n, results that v¯k=v¯0+tann1v¯0tann.

If Rev¯0then Rev¯kcotn, which allows the avoidance of any singularity of type Reα¯2n=π2+π.

Theorem 9.Ifv¯V¯3is the parameterization of a displacement obtained from (Eq. (20)), then




In (Eq. (22)) and (Eq. (23)),.represents the floor of a number and knare binomial coefficients.

Remark 5.The structure of the polynomials pnXand qnX, given by (Eq. (22)) and (Eq. (23)), can be used to obtain the following iterative expressions:


In order to evaluate the usefulness of the iterative expressions, we provide the second to third order polynomials and the resulting dual quaternions and dual orthogonal tensors:


2.3. Poisson-Darboux problems in dual Lie algebra and vector parameterization

Consider the functions Q=QtSO3Rand ρ=ρtV3Rto be the parametric equations of any rigid motion. Thus, any rigid motion can be parameterized by a curve in SO¯3where R¯t=I+ερtQt, where t is time variable. Let h¯0embed the Plücker coordinates of a line feature at t=t0. At a time stamp tthe line is transformed into:


Theorem 10.In a general rigid motion, described by an orthogonal dual tensor functionR¯, the velocity dual tensor functionΦ¯defined as


is expressed by


Let Φ¯=Ṙ¯R¯T, then Ṙ¯R¯T+R¯Ṙ¯T=0¯, equivalent with Φ¯=Φ¯T, which shows that Φ¯so¯3R.

The dual vector ω¯=vectṘ¯R¯Tis called dual angular velocity of the rigid bodyand has the form:


where ωis the instantaneous angular velocity of the rigid body and v=ρ̇ω×ρrepresents the linear velocity of the point of the body that coincides instantaneously with the origin of the reference frame. The pair (ω,v) is usually refereed as the twist of the rigid body.

2.3.1. Poisson-Darboux equation in dual Lie algebra

The next Theorem permits the reconstruction of the rigid body motion knowing in any moment the twist of the rigid body that is equivalent with knowing the dual angular velocity [5, 18].

Theorem 11.For any continuous functionω¯V¯3Ra unique dual tensorR¯SO¯3Rexists so that


Due to the fact that orthogonal dual tensor R¯completely models the six degree of freedom motion, we can conclude that the Theorem 11is the dual form of the Poisson-Darboux problem[28] for the case when the rotation tensor is computed from the instantaneous angular velocity. So, in order to recover R¯, it is necessary to find out how the dual angular velocity vector ω¯behaves in time and also the value of R¯at time t=t0.

The dual tensor R¯can be derived from ω¯, when is positioned in space, or from ω¯B, which denotes the dual angular velocity vector to be positioned in the rigid body.

Remark 6.The dual angular velocity vector positioned in the rigid body can be recovered from ω¯B=R¯Tω¯, thus transforming (Eq. (32)) into:


(Eq. (32)) and (Eq. (33)) represent the dual replica of the classical orientation Poisson-Darboux problem [17, 28, 29].

The tensorial (Eq. (32)) and (Eq. (33)) are equivalent with 18 scalar differential equations. The previous parameterizations of the orthogonal dual tensors allow us to determine some solutions of smaller dimension in order to solve the dual Poisson- Darboux problem.

2.3.2. Kinematic equation for Euler dual vector parameterization

Consider Ψ¯V3Rsuch that R¯=expΨ¯. According to the (Eq. (10)), the Poisson-Darboux problem (32) is equivalent to


whereexpΨ¯0=R¯0, and T¯is the following dual tensor:


The representation of the Poisson-Darboux problem from (Eq. (33)) is equivalent to


2.3.3. Kinematic equation for high order Rodrigues dual vector parameterization

Let v¯V¯3Rsuch that R¯=caynv¯. The problems (32) and (33) are equivalent to:


where caynv¯0=R¯0, and S¯is the following dual tensor [29]:


and the polynomials pn,qnare given by the (Eq. (22)), (Eq. (23)) and (Eq. (24)).

(Eq. (34)), (Eq. (36)), (Eq. (37)) and (Eq. (38)) are equivalent with six scalar differential equations. This is a minimal parameterization of the Poisson-Darboux problem in dual algebra.

2.3.4. Kinematic equation for dual quaternion parameterization

Let q̂¯U¯Rsuch that q̂¯=R¯. According to (Eq. (16)), the Poisson–Darboux problems (32) and (33) are equivalent to:




where q¯̂0=R¯0

The (Eq. (40)) and (Eq. (41)) are equivalent to eight scalar differential equations.


3. Rigid body motion in arbitrary non-inertial frame revised

To the author’s knowledge, in the field of astrodynamics there aren’t many reports on how the motion of rigid body can be studied in arbitrary non-inertial frames. Next, we proposed a dual tensors based model for the motion of the rigid body in arbitrary non-inertial frame. The proposed method eludes the calculus of inertia forces that contributes to the rigid body relative state. So, the free of coordinate state equation of the rigid body motion in arbitrary non-inertial frame will be obtained.

Let R¯Dand R¯Cbe the dual orthogonal tensors which describe the motion of two rigid bodies relative to the inertial frame.

If R¯is the orthogonal dual tensor which embeds the six degree of freedom relative motion of rigid body C relative to rigid body D, then:


Let ω¯Cdenote the dual angular velocity of the rigid body C and ω¯Dthe dual angular velocity of the rigid body D, both being related to inertial reference frame. In the followings, the inertial motion of the rigid body C is considered to be known. If ω¯is the dual angular velocity of the rigid body D relative to the rigid body C, then, conforming with (Eq. (42)):


Considering ω¯DBbeing the dual angular velocity vector of the rigid body D in the body frame, the dual form of the Euler equation given in [30] results that:


In (Eq. (44)) τ¯B=FB+ετB, where FBthe force applied in the mass center and τBis the torque. Also in (Eq. (44)), M¯represents the inertia dual operator, which is given by M¯=mDdI+εJ, where Jis the inertia tensor of the rigid body D related to its mass center and mDis the mass of the rigid body D. Combining M¯1=J1d+ε1mDIwith (Eq. (44)) results:


Taking into account that ω¯D=R¯ω¯DB, the dual angular velocity vector can be computed from


this through differentiation gives:


If the previous equation is multiplied by R¯T, then


which combined with Ṙ¯=ω¯R¯generates:


After a few steps, (Eq. (49)) is transformed into


which combined with (Eq. (45)) gives:


Because ω¯DB=R¯Tω¯×ω¯C, the final equation is:


The system:


is a compact form which can be used to model the six D.O.F relative motion problem. In the previous equation the state of the rigid body D in relation with the rigid body C is modeled by the dual tensor R¯and the dual angular velocities field ω¯. This initial value problem can be used to study the behavior of the rigid body D in relation with the frame attached to the rigid body C. In (Eq. (53)), all the vectors are represented in the body frame of C, which shows that the proposed solution is onboard and has the property of being coupled in R¯and ω¯.

Next, we present a procedure that allows the decoupling of the proposed solution.

In order to describe the solution to (Eq. (53)), we consider the following change of variable:


This change of variable leads to ω̇¯=Ṙ¯Tω¯+ω¯C+R¯Tω̇¯+ω̇¯C=R¯Tω¯ω¯+ω¯C+R¯Tω̇¯+ω̇¯C. The result is equivalent with ω̇¯=R¯Tω¯C×ω¯+ω̇¯+ω̇¯Cor


After some steps of algebraic calculus, from (Eq. (54)), (Eq. (55)) and (Eq. (52)), results that:


Where τ¯=R¯Tτ¯is the dual torque related to the mass center in the body frame of the rigid body D and ω¯0=R¯0Tω¯0+ω¯Ct0. (Eq. (56)) is a dual Euler fixed point classic problem.

For any R¯SO¯3R, the solution of (Eq. (53)) emerges from


Making use of (Eq. (54)), results that R¯ω¯=ω¯+ω¯C. If ~operator used, the previous calculus is transformed into R¯ω¯=ω¯+ω¯CR¯ω¯R¯T=Ṙ¯R¯T+ω¯C. After multiplying the last expression by R¯, we obtain the initial value problem:


Using the variable change (Eq. (54)), the initial value problem (53) has been decoupled into two distinct initial value problems (56) and (58).

Let R¯ω¯CSO¯3Rbe the unique solution of the following Poisson-Darboux problem:


Considering R¯=R¯ω¯CR¯, a representation theorem of the solution of (Eq. (53)) can be formulated.

Theorem 12.(Representation Theorem). The solution of (Eq. (53)) results from the application of the tensorR¯ω¯Cfrom (Eq. (59)) to the solution of the classical dual Euler fixed point problem:


where ω¯0=R¯0Tω¯0+ω¯Ct0,R¯0=I+εrCt0R¯0, τ¯=R¯Tτ¯.

Different representations can be considered for the problem (60).

Using dual quaternion representation R¯=q̂¯, (Eq. (60)) is equivalent with the following one:


For the n-th order of Cayley transform based representation R¯=caynξ¯,ξ¯=tanα¯2nu¯, the (Eq. (60)) becomes:


where the tensor S¯is:


when pnXand qnXare defined by (Eq. (22)) and (Eq. (23)).

Different particular cases can be analyzed for the (Eq. (62)):

  1. Let ξ¯=tanα¯2u¯be the Rodrigues dual vectorfor n = 1:


  • Let ξ¯=tanα¯4u¯be the modified Rodrigues dual vector (Wiener-Milenkovic dual vector) for n = 2:


  • The initial value problem (62) is a minimum parameterization of the six degrees of freedom motion problem. The singularity cases can be avoided using the shadow parametersof the n-th order Modified Rodrigues Parameter dual vector.


    4. A dual tensor formulation of the six degree of freedom relative orbital motion problem

    The results from the previous paragraphs will be used to study the six degrees of freedom relative orbital motion problem.

    The relative orbital motion problem may now be considered classical one considering the many scientific papers written on this subject in the last decades. Also, the problem is quite important knowing its numerous applications: rendezvous operations, spacecraft formation flying, distributed spacecraft missions [3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

    The model of the relative motion consists in two spacecraft flying in Keplerian orbits due to the influence of the same gravitational attraction center. The main problem is to determine the pose of the Deputy satellite relative to a reference frame originated in the Leader satellite center of mass. This non-inertial reference frame, known as “LVLH (Local-Vertical-Local- Horizontal)” is chosen as following: the Cxaxis has the same orientation as the position vector of the Leader with respect to an inertial reference frame with the origin in the attraction center; the orientation of the Czis the same as the Leader orbit angular momentum; the Cyaxis completes a right-handed frame. The angular velocity of the LVLH is given by vector ωC, which has the expression:


    where vector rCis


    where pCis the conic parameter, hCis the angular momentum of the Leader, fCtbeing the true anomaly and eCis the eccentricity of the Leader.

    We propose dual tensors based model for the motion and the pose for the mass center of the Deputy in relation with LVLH. Both, the Leader satellite and the Deputy satellite can be considered rigid bodies.

    Furthermore, the time variation of rCis:


    In order to a more easy to read list of notations, for t=t0there will be used the followings:


    where rC0rC0is the unity vector of the X-axis from LVLH.

    The full-body relative orbital motion is described by the (Eq. (53)) where the dual angular velocity of the Chief satellite is:


    and the dual torque related to the mass center of Deputy satellite is:


    The representation theorem (Theorem 12) is applied in this case using the conditions (66)(69), the solution of the Poisson-Darboux problem (59) is:


    In (71), we’ve noted hc=hcand fc0=fctfct0.

    Theorem 13.(Representation Theorem of the full body relative orbital motion). The solution of (Eq. (53))results from the application of the tensorR¯ω¯Cfrom (Eq. (71)) to the solution of the classical dual Euler fixed point problem(60).

    4.1. The rotational and translational parts of the relative orbital motion

    The complete solution of (Eq. (53)) can be recovered in two steps.

    Consider first the real part of (Eq. (53)). This leads to an initial value problem:


    which has the solution Q=Qt, the real tensor Qbeing the attitude of Deputy in relation with LVLH. In (Eq. (72)), ωis the angular velocity of the Deputy in relation with LVLH, ωcis the angular velocity of LVLH, τis the resulting torque of the forces applied on the Deputy in relation with is mass center, Jis the inertia tensor of the Deputy in relation with its mass center. The angular velocity of Deputy in respect to LVLH at time t0is denoted with ω0and Q0is the orientation of Deputy in respect to LVLH at time t0.

    Consider now the dual part of (Eq. (53)). Taking into account the internal structure of R¯, which is given by (Eq. (2)), after some basic algebraic calculus we obtain a second initial value problem that models the translation of the Deputy satellite mass center with respect to the LVLH reference frame:


    where μ>0is the gravitational parameter of the attraction center and r0,v0represent the relative position and relative velocity vectors of the mass center of the Deputy spacecraft with respect to LVLH at the initial moment of time t00.

    Based on the representationtheorem 12, the following theorem results.

    Theorem 14.The solutions of problems (Eq. (72)) and (Eq. (73)) are given by


    where Qand rare the solutions of the the classical Euler fixed point problem and, respectively, Kepler’s problem:






    and rcis given by(Eq. (65)).

    Remark 7:The problems (72) and (73) are coupled because, in general case, the torque τdepends of the position vector r.

    The relative velocity of the translation motion may be computed as:


    This result shows a very interesting property of the translational part of the relative orbital motion problem (73). We have proven that this problem is super-integrable by reducing it to the classic Kepler problem [11, 12, 31, 32]. The solution of the translational part of the relative orbital motion problem is expressed thus:


    The exact closed form, free of coordinate, solution of the translational motion can be found in [11, 12, 31, 32, 34].


    5. Conclusions

    The chapter proposes a new method for the determination of the onboard complete solution to the full-body relative orbital motion problem.

    Therefore, the isomorphism between the Lie group of the rigid displacements SE3and the Lie group of the orthogonal dual tensors SO¯3is used. It is obtained a Poisson-Darboux like problem written in the Lie algebra of the group SO¯3, an algebra that is isomorphic with the Lie algebra of the dual vectors. Different vectorial and non-vectorial parameterizations (obtained with n-th order Cayley-like transforms) permit the reduction of the Poisson-Darboux problem in dual Lie algebra to the simpler problems in the space of the dual vectors or dual quaternions.

    Using the above results, the free of coordinate state equation of the rigid body motion in arbitrary non-inertial frame is obtained.

    The results are applied in order to offer a coupled (rotational and translational motion) state equation and a representation theorem for the onboard complete solution of full body relative orbital motion problem. The obtained results interest the domains of the spacecraft formation flying, rendezvous operation, autonomous mission and control theory.



    areal number
    dual number
    areal vector
    dual vector
    Areal tensor
    dual tensor
    V3real vectors set
    V¯3dual vectors set
    V3Rtime depending real vectorial functions
    V¯3Rtime depending dual vectorial functions
    a∼¯skew-symmetric dual tensor corresponding to the dual vector a¯
    fctrue anomaly
    pcconic parameter
    hcspecific angular momentum of the leader satellite
    LV¯3V¯3dual tensor set
    real quaternion
    q¯̂dual quaternion
    Rreal numbers set
    dual numbers set
    SO3orthogonal real tensors set
    SO¯3orthogonal dual tensor set
    SO3Rtime depending real tensorial functions
    SO¯3Rtime depending dual tensorial functions
    Uunit quaternions set
    unit dual quaternions set

    © 2018 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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    Daniel Condurache (February 14th 2018). On Six DOF Relative Orbital Motion of Satellites, Space Flight, George Dekoulis, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.73563. Available from:

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