High-fidelity real-time trajectory optimization for reusable launch vehicles
Bollino, Kevin P.
Ross, I. Michael
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Creating simplicity out of complexity, this research abandons the traditional guidance and control architecture for aerospace vehicles and embraces a revolutionary concept based on the principles of nonlinear optimal control theory. Motivated by the emerging needs of the next generation of reusable space vehicles, an autonomous "integrated" guidance and control system is developed that provides a safe approach to the highly constrained and nonlinear reentry problem. A pseudospectral-based optimal guidance scheme is used to generate high-fidelity, vehicle-tailored solutions to reentry trajectory optimization and guidance problems. To provide an autonomous, onboard capability of satisfying final-approach requirements, a new method is developed that includes an automatic generation of landing constraints given any runway geometry. This unique and simple approach avoids significant complexities arising from previous ideas of trajectory segmentation, trimmed flight, and trajectory tracking schemes. When demonstrating the new ideas, it is shown that the proposed approach can easily compensate for large uncertainties and disturbances consisting of hurricane-force wind gusts. An investigation of these new principles for the complete, nonlinear six degree-of-freedom system dynamics indicates that while the results are quite promising, a substantial amount of new theoretical and computational problems remain open, particularly in the area of over-actuated dynamical systems.
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