Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-17-2017


The ability to guarantee the safety of autonomously controlled space vehicles is of great importance to help avoid accidents and ensure mission success. In this paper we investigate the safety verification of a satellite attempting to maneuver to a new position while avoiding multiple pieces of debris. We assume that the satellite, desired rendezvous point, and all debris are near the same circular orbit with dynamics modeled by Clohessy-Wiltshire-Hill (CWH) equations. We will use reachability methods to guarantee the satellite is able to reach a desired point while avoiding all debris. We will first develop a computationally efficient method for computing the Reach-Avoid set for a system modeled by CWH dynamics, and then extend this method to the minimal and maximal reach calculations. We then review a system decomposition method for computing reach sets in large dimensions and apply the methods to the debris avoidance problem. Finally, we develop computationally efficient methods to compute an under-approximation of the Reach-Avoid set and present numerical examples for single and multiple debris scenarios.


reach-avoid, reachability, space vehicle, debris avoidance


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation and by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, under Grant Number CMMI-1254990 (CAREER, Oishi) and an AFOSR Summer Faculty Fellowship (Oishi). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Meeko Oishi

Second Committee Member

Rafael Fierro

Third Committee Member

R. Scott Erwin