Automatica, Vol.91, 225-232, 2018
Global finite-time attitude consensus of leader-following spacecraft systems based on distributed observers
This paper addresses the leader-following attitude consensus problem for a group of spacecraft when at least one follower can access the leader's attitude and velocity relative to the inertial space. A nonlinear distributed observer is designed to estimate the leader's states for each follower. The observer possesses one important and novel feature of keeping attitude and angular velocity estimation errors on second-order sliding modes, and thus provides finite-time convergent estimates for each follower. Further, quaternion-based hybrid homogeneous controllers recently developed for single spacecraft are extended and then applied, by establishing a separation principle with the proposed observer, to track the leader's attitude motion. As a result, global finite-time attitude consensus is achieved on the entire attitude manifold, with either full-state measurements or attitude-only measurements, as long as the network topology among the followers is undirected and connected. Numerical simulations are presented to demonstrate the performance of the proposed methods. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.