Development and control of the Naval Postgraduate School Planar Autonomous Docking Simulator (NPADS)
Porter, Robert D.
Spencer, Michael G.
Agrawal, Brij N.
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The objective of this thesis was to design, construct and develop the initial autonomous control algorithm for the NPS Planar Autonomous Docking Simulator (NPADS). The effort included hardware design, fabrication, installation and integration; mass property determination; and the development and testing of control laws utilizing MATLAB and Simulink for modeling and LabView for NPADS control. The NPADS vehicle uses air pads and a granite table to simulate a 2-D, drag-free, zero-g space environment. It is a completely self-contained vehicle equipped with eight cold-gas, bang-bang type thrusters and a reaction wheel for motion control. A "star sensor" CCD camera locates the vehicle on the table while a color CCD docking camera and two robotic arms will locate and dock with a target vehicle. The on-board computer system leverages PXI technology and a single source, simplifying systems integration. The vehicle is powered by two lead-acid batteries for completely autonomous operation. A graphical user interface and wireless Ethernet enable the user to command and monitor the vehicle from a remote command and data acquisition computer. Two control algorithms were developed and allow the user to either control the thrusters and reaction wheel manually or simply specify a desired location.
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