Dynamic Control Allocation for Shaping Spacecraft Attitude Control Command

  • Published : 2007.06.30


For spacecraft attitude control, reaction wheel (RW) steering laws with more than three wheels for three-axis attitude control can be derived by using a control allocation (CA) approach.1-2 The CA technique deals with a problem of distributing a given control demand to available sets of actuators.3-4 There are many references for CA with applications to aerospace systems. For spacecraft, the control torque command for three body-fixed reference frames can be constructed by a combination of multiple wheels, usually four-wheel pyramid sets. Multi-wheel configurations can be exploited to satisfy a body-axis control torque requirement while satisfying objectives such as minimum control energy.1-2 In general, the reaction wheel steering laws determine required torque command for each wheel in the form of matrix pseudo-inverse. In general, the attitude control command is generated in the form of a feedback control. The spacecraft body angular rate measured by gyros is used to estimate angular displacement also.⁵ Combination of the body angular rate and attitude parameters such as quaternion and MRPs(Modified Rodrigues Parameters) is typically used in synthesizing the control command which should be produced by RWs.¹ The attitude sensor signals are usually corrupted by noise; gyros tend to contain errors such as drift and random noise. The attitude determination system can estimate such errors, and provide best true signals for feedback control.⁶ Even if the attitude determination system, for instance, sophisticated algorithm such as the EKF(Extended Kalman Filter) algorithm⁶, can eliminate the errors efficiently, it is quite probable that the control command still contains noise sources. The noise and/or other high frequency components in the control command would cause the wheel speed to change in an undesirable manner. The closed-loop system, governed by the feedback control law, is also directly affected by the noise due to imperfect sensor characteristics. The noise components in the sensor signal should be mitigated so that the control command is isolated from the noise effect. This can be done by adding a filter to the sensor output or preventing rapid change in the control command. Dynamic control allocation(DCA), recently studied by Härkegård, is to distribute the control command in the sense of dynamics⁴: the allocation is made over a certain time interval, not a fixed time instant. The dynamic behavior of the control command is taken into account in the course of distributing the control command. Not only the control command requirement, but also variation of the control command over a sampling interval is included in the performance criterion to be optimized. The result is a control command in the form of a finite difference equation over the given time interval.⁴ It results in a filter dynamics by taking the previous control command into account for the synthesis of current control command. Stability of the proposed dynamic control allocation (CA) approach was proved to ensure the control command is bounded at the steady-state. In this study, we extended the results presented in Ref. 4 by adding a two-step dynamic CA term in deriving the control allocation law. Also, the strict equality constraint, between the virtual and actual control inputs, is relaxed in order to construct control command with a smooth profile. The proposed DCA technique is applied to a spacecraft attitude control problem. The sensor noise and/or irregular signals, which are existent in most of spacecraft attitude sensors, can be handled effectively by the proposed approach.



  1. Hanspeter Schaub and John L.Junkins, 'Analytical Mechanics of Space System', AIAA Education Series, pp. 151-160, and 353-373, 2003
  2. Bong Wie, Space Vehicle Dynamics and Control, , AIAA Education Series, pp. 435-445, 1998
  3. Bodson, M., 'Evaluation of Optimization Methods for Control Allocation', AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit, Montreal, Canada, Aug. 2001
  4. Ola Harkegard, 'Dynamic Control Allocation using Constrained Quadratic Programming', Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, vol.27 no.6 ,pp. 1028-1034, 2004
  5. James R.Wertz, Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control, D.Redel Publishing Company, 1986
  6. E. J. Lefferts, F. L. Markley, and M. D. Shuster, 'Kalman Filtering for Spacecraft Attitude Estimation', Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol 5, No.5, pp. 471-429, 1982
  7. Wie, B., and Barba. P. M., 'Quaternion feedback for Spacecraft Large Angle Maneuvers', Journal of Guidance. Control, and Dynamics, vol.12, no.S, pp.375-380, 1989
  8. A. Y. Lee, et al, 'Space Interferometry Mission Spacecraft Pointing Error Budgets', IEEE Trans. on Aerospace Electronic Systems, Vol.38, no.2, April 2002

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