Towards a Taxonomy for Automatic and Autonomous Cooperative Spacecraft Maneuvering in a Space Traffic Management Framework

Kerianne Hobbs, Alexander R. Collins, Eric Feron

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


As the number of objects in Earth orbit continues to grow, automatic maneuvering of spacecraft may play an important role in a comprehensive space traffic management framework. Automatic collision avoidance, rendezvous and proximity operations, and station keeping are all possible spacecraft missions where two or more spacecraft may interact in an automatic maneuver scenario. Interaction may be limited to awareness of state information such as the other object’s position and velocity relative to an ownship position and velocity, or it may be as extensive as two spacecraft that communicate and coordinate maneuvers to optimize resource use while still meeting mission objectives. Before standards and policies can be determined, a common vocabulary describing spacecraft interactions is needed. This paper proposes a spacecraft maneuver taxonomy that provides a common set of definitions for categories of spacecraft interactions, maneuver coordination, intent, and maneuver efficiency, as well as related concepts such as centralized, distributed, and hierarchical control. It is envisioned that this taxonomy will provide a basis for specifications, planning, coordination, and on-orbit synchronization of spacecraft automatic maneuvering.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASCEND 2020
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
ISBN (Print)9781624106088
StatePublished - Nov 4 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-11-20
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Alwyn Goodloe, Paul Minor, Ivan Perez, Natasha Neogi, Eloy Garcia, David Casbeer, Derek Kingston, Laura Humphrey, Adam Gerlach, and Ryan Weismann for enlightening conversations that inspired the development of this taxonomy.


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a Taxonomy for Automatic and Autonomous Cooperative Spacecraft Maneuvering in a Space Traffic Management Framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this