Image-based synchronised control of spacecraft’s attitude and space manipulator’s motions for capturing uncooperative targets

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


A free-floating space manipulator, attached to the mother spacecraft, introduces challenges in simultaneously controlling both the manipulator’s dynamical motion and spacecraft’s attitude, due to the high number of degrees of freedom of the considered system. This research aims to develop an innovative approach that ensures safe proximation to the target space debris by synchronously controlling the spacecraft’s attitude and the manipulator’s motion. The proposed vison-based control approach utilizes Image-Based Visual Servoing (IBVS) to precisely control of the manipulator’s motion by extracting and comparing image features. A Unscented Kalman Filter is employed to estimate both the spacecraft angular momentum and the debris velocity, reducing camera noise effects. The control approach cancels the spacecraft reaction to manipulator’s motion through feed-forward compensation and employs an attitude. controller to maintain the spacecraft’s attitude within desired parameters. This approach enables collision avoidance and favorable manipulator configuration planning. The control scheme is simulated and tested for accuracy, robustness, and autonomy in MATLAB-Simulink. It is demonstrated that the proposed approach achieves precise control of the space manipulator while ensuring spacecraft safety. The MATLAB-Simulink results validate its potential for real-world application in handling free-floating space manipulators to capture uncooperative debris.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum
Place of PublicationReston, VA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781624107115
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2024


  • space manipulator
  • spacecraft attitude
  • collision avoidance
  • manipulator configuration planning
  • spacecraft safety
  • uncooperative debris


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