This talk will begin with a short overview of the current national and international driving forces that are influencing the evolution of the use of the “near-Earth” space environment (approximately a few hundred km to the geostationary “graveyard” orbit at ~36,000 km altitude). Specifically, how these factors are influencing the research and development interests of the Air Force, and specifically the R&D interests in the area of spacecraft dynamics & controls will be discussed. The talk will then touch on several current research projects ongoing at AFRL in these interest areas, including: algorithms for tracking and characterization of space objects; optimal control of spacecraft orbit and attitude with state- and control-constraints; multi-spacecraft spacecraft formation control; vision-based robotics/navigation methods; and hybrid control techniques for autonomous spacecraft. The talk will conclude with some information on how interested students and faculty can become involved with the research in these areas being conducted at AFRL.
R. Scott Erwin received a B. S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1991, and the M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1993 and 1997, respectively. He has been an employee of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) located at Kirtland AFB, NM, from 1997 to the present. He is currently the Program Manager for the Guidance, Navigation, and Control Program within Space Vehicles Directorate. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a Senior Member of IEEE, and has authored or co-authored over 100 technical publications in the areas of spacecraft dynamic, controls, and communications. His current research interests are autonomous spacecraft and the interplay between communications, estimation, and control in autonomous, networked multi-spacecraft systems.