Strategies for attitude control of reconfigurable modular spacecraft

Trovarelli, Federico (2022) Strategies for attitude control of reconfigurable modular spacecraft. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The purpose of this thesis is to propose, investigate and develop an innovative approach to the attitude control of Cubesat-sized, modular and variable-shape spacecraft. These systems could ideally comply with the requirements of a larger variety of in-orbit functions and better adapt to the needs of specific subsystems in achieving and maintaining the desired attitude.

The reference array is assumed to consist of a certain number of modules interconnected by means of revolute joints. One interesting aspect, which is the specific focus of the present thesis, is that such system can be capable of exploiting the dynamic effect of momentum conserving internal torques generated by the modules rotating with respect to each other for reorientation purposes. Initial inspiration for this proposed approach to spacecraft attitude control design has been drawn from the study of the well known 'falling cat' problem.

In the long term, this innovative attitude control methodology, could justify the increase in cost and complexity modular reconfigurable systems require not only with advantages in the added versatility with respect to the mission tasks but also with better performance in attitude control system efficiency, accuracy, stability and even robustness.

Specifically, this thesis discusses the available information present in literature about momentum preserving attitude control of multibody arrays and possible space applications, builds and validates a tool for the investigation of the peculiarities of these systems and finally investigates their non-linear behaviour for both the 2D and 3D cases. With respect to previous work in the field, optimal attitude control trajectories that take into account module impingement are discussed and the dynamics of momentum-preserving manoeuvres is analysed from the physical and mathematical points of view for both 2D and 3D manoeuvres. The results of the analysis demonstrate the validity of the concept and highlighted some the potentialities but also the critical points for a further development of the technology.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: McInnes, Professor Colin
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82678
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2022 14:25
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:52
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82678
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