Control of Eddy-Current Actuation Systems for Non-Contact Space Robotics

Grants and Contracts Details


The objective of this project is to design a control algorithm for a new type of actuation system that uses electromagnetic forces to move and orient a small satellite relative to a larger man-made orbital entity such as the International Space Station (ISS). The small satellite is equipped with non-contact actuators such as induction couplers, which create eddy-current effects between the satellite and the ISS. These eddy current effects create forces and torques on the satellite. In theory, the actuation system can be used to control the satellite's motion around the ISS. This type of non-contact actuation system can potentially be used for difficult and dangerous on-orbit servicing missions. We propose to develop a control algorithm to precisely manipulate the satellite's position and orientation. Our collaborators at NASA Kennedy are constructing a two-degree of freedom test system to evaluate the eddy-current actuation concept. Our culminating experiment for this project is to apply our control algorithm to this test system.
Effective start/end date1/1/195/31/20


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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