Cooperative attitude synchronization in satellite swarms: A consensus approach

Alain Sarlette, Rodolphe Sepulchre, Naomi Ehrich Leonard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

34 Scopus citations


The present paper considers the problem of autonomous synchronization of attitudes in a swarm of spacecraft. Building upon our recent results on consensus on manifolds, we model the spacecraft as particles on SO(3) and drive these particles to a common point in SO(3). Unlike the Euler angle or quaternion descriptions, this model suffers no singularities nor double-points. Our approach is fully cooperative and autonomous: we use no leader nor external reference. We present two types of control laws, in terms of applied control torques, that globally drive the swarm towards attitude synchronization: one that requires tree-like or all-to-all inter-satellite communication (most efficient) and one that works with nearly arbitrary communication (most robust).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationACA' 2007 - 17th IFAC Symposium on Automatic Control in Aerospace - Proceedings
PublisherIFAC Secretariat
Number of pages6
EditionPART 1
ISBN (Print)9783902661241
StatePublished - 2007

Publication series

NameIFAC Proceedings Volumes (IFAC-PapersOnline)
NumberPART 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


  • Attitude control
  • Autonomous swarms
  • Consensus algorithms
  • Formation flight
  • Satellite swarms
  • Swarm control
  • Synchronization


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