Attitude Control of a Tethered Spacecraft

Cho, Sang-Bum;McClamroch, N. Harris

  • 발행 : 2007.11.01


An attitude control problem for a tethered spacecraft is studied. The tethered spacecraft is viewed as a multi-body spacecraft consisting of a base body, a massless tether that connects the base body and an end mass, and tether actuator dynamics. Moments about the pitch and roll axes of the base spacecraft arise by control of the point of attachment of the tether to the base spacecraft. The control objective is to stabilize the attitude of the base spacecraft while keeping the perturbations of the tether small. Analysis shows that linear equations of motion for the tethered spacecraft are not completely controllable. We study two different control design approaches: (1) we decouple the attitude dynamics from the tether dynamics and we design a linear feedback to achieve stabilization of the attitude dynamics, and (2) we decouple the controllable modes from the uncontrollable mode using Kalman decomposition and we design a linear feedback to achieve stabilization of the controllable modes. Simulation results show that, although it is difficult to control the tether, the tether motion can be maintained within an acceptable range while stabilizing the attitude dynamics of the base spacecraft.


tethered spacecraft ; attitude control ; stabilization ; Kalman decomposition ; multi-body dynamics


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