Simulation of spacecraft damage tolerance and adaptive controls
Nakatani, Scott Y.
Sands, Timothy A.
Travis, Henry D.
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In the 1950s and 1960s, the North American X-15 rocket powered aircraft was pioneering the concepts and principles that would come to define modern powered flight. Among the ground breaking ideas proposed was a system of adaptive controls, or a controller that would take into consideration the changing operational environment to deliver appropriate control to the operator. Limitations of current technology abounded, leaving the X-15 with a successful, but severely limited adaptive control system. Since then, many limitations have fallen away, allowing for the first time employment of adaptive controls on a large scale. The nature of adaptive controls, or controls for unpredictable systems, lends itself naturally to the concept of damage tolerant controls in high performing systems, such as aircraft and spacecraft. Recent technical demonstrations of damage tolerant aircraft prove the concept of adaptive controls in an operational environment. This thesis expands on the topic, discussing the application of adaptive controls to spacecraft and simulating a possible damage tolerant control implementation designed for rapid changes in inertia.
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