Attitude control of spacecraft with magnetic actuators

Advanced design techniques for attitude control of spacecraft with magnetic actuators

Andrea Corti
DEI PhD Student

DEI - 3B Room
September 8th, 2011
3.30 p.m.


Magnetic torquers are an effective and reliable technology for the attitude control of small satellites in low Earth orbit. Such actuators operate by generating a magnetic dipole which interacts with the magnetic field of the Earth. The main difficulty in the design of attitude control laws based on magnetic torquers is that the torques they generate are instantaneously constrained to lie in the plane orthogonal to the local direction of the geomagnetic field vector, which varies according the current orbital position of the spacecraft. This implies that the attitude regulation problem is formulated over a time-varying model. In recent years this control problem has been studied extensively, either using methods based on averaged models or via approaches which exploit the quasi-periodic variability of the geomagnetic field. With the exception of other approaches based on Model Predictive Control, none of the above actually exploits at the design stage the fact that the geomagnetic field can be reliably measured on-board and therefore the above mentioned time-variability of the attitude dynamics can be represented in LPV form. Therefore, in this work an LPV approach to the problem of magnetic attitude control law design is proposed.

Research area:
Control, automation and measurement