Minimization of Roll Firings for Optimal Propellant Maneuvers
Leach, Parker C
Spanos, Pol D
Master of Science
Attitude control of the International Space Station (ISS) is critical for operations, impacting power, communications, and thermal systems. The station uses gyroscopes and thrusters for attitude control, and reorientations are normally assisted by thrusters on docked vehicles. When the docked vehicles are unavailable, the reduction in control authority in the roll axis results in frequent jet firings and massive fuel consumption. To improve this situation, new guidance and control schemes are desired that provide control with fewer roll firings. Optimal control software was utilized to solve for potential candidates that satisfied desired conditions with the goal of minimizing total propellant. An ISS simulation too was then used to test these solutions for feasibility. After several problem reformulations, multiple candidate solutions minimizing or completely eliminating roll firings were found. Flight implementation would not only save massive amounts of fuel and thus money, but also reduce ISS wear and tear, thereby extending its lifetime.
aerospace; control; optimization