Decentralized Electromagnetic Formation Flight Using Alternating Magnetic Field Forces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a decentralized formation control strategy for electromagnetic formation flight (EMFF). A primary control challenge of EMFF is the coupling that occurs between the electromagnetic fields generated by all satellites. Alternating magnetic field forces (AMFF) are used to address these coupling challenges. Each satellite's electromagnetic actuation system is driven by a sum of amplitude-modulated sinusoids, where the amplitudes are optimally designed to prescribe the average intersatellite force between each satellite pair while minimizing control effort. The communication structure is a connected undirected graph, where each satellite relies on relative-position and relative-velocity feedback of neighboring satellites. The controller is designed based on an average dynamic model, which is used to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for formation control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2480-2489
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under Award 80NSSC17M0040 and in part by the NASA Kentucky under Award NNX15AR69H.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1993-2012 IEEE.


  • Aerospace control
  • electromagnetics
  • space technology
  • swarm robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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