Radiometric autonomous navigation for cislunar satellite Formations

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In this study, the application of the Linked Autonomous Interplanetary Satellite Orbit Navigation (LiAISON) method for cislunar satellite formations is investigated considering range only and range-rate only measurements. The LiAISON method provides an autonomous orbit determination solution solely using satellite-to-satellite measurements such as range and/or range-rate. This paper presents a comparison between range only and range-rate only measurements in satellite formations at cislunar space including the Earth-Moon L!, L" and Lunar orbits by presenting the results of Monte Carlo simulations and observability analysis. The results show that range observations in general provide better state estimations than range-rate observations for cislunar satellite formations in the autonomous navigation applications. However, range-rate only measurements could be an alternative to range-only measurements if range measurements are not precise and high precise range-rate measurements could be collected on-board. It has been found that range only measurements could be good enough to meet the orbit determination requirements for certain small satellite missions and allow to simplify the communication system design and reduce power usage.