According to the requirements of servicing and deorbiting the failure satellites, especially the tumbling ones on geosynchronous orbit, this paper aims to design a docking mechanism to capture these tumbling satellites in orbit, to analyze the dynamics of the docking system and to develop a new collision force-limited control method in various docking speeds.Design/methodology/approachThe mechanism includes a cone-rod mechanism which captures the apogee engine with a full consideration of despinning and damping characteristics and a locking and releasing mechanism which rigidly connects the international standard interface ring (Marman rings, such as 937B, 1194 and 1194A mechanical interface). The docking mechanism was designed under-actuated, aimed to greatly reduce the difficulty of control and ensure the continuity, synchronization and force uniformity under the process of repeatedly capturing, despinning, locking and releasing the tumbling satellite. The dynamic model of docking mechanism was established, and the impact force was analyzed in the docking process. Furthermore, a collision detection and compliance control method is proposed by using the active force-limited Cartesian impedance control and passive damping mechanism design.FindingsA variety of conditions were set for the docking kinematics and dynamics simulation. The simulation and low-speed docking experiment results showed that the force translation in the docking phase was stable, the mechanism design scheme was reasonable and feasible and the proposed force-limited Cartesian impedance control could detect the collision and keep the external force within the desired value.Originality/valueThe paper presents a universal docking mechanism and force-limited Cartesian impedance control approach to capture the tumbling non-cooperative satellite. The docking mechanism was designed under-actuated to greatly reduce the difficulty of control and ensure the continuity, synchronization and force uniformity. The dynamic model of docking mechanism was established. The impact force was controlled within desired value by using a combination of active force-limited control approach and passive damping mechanism.
Assembly Automation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 14, 2019
Keywords: Docking mechanism; Dynamic modelling and analyzing; Force-limited impedance control; Geosynchronous orbit; On-orbit servicing; Tumbling satellites