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Controllability of spacecraft systems in a central gravitational field

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3 Author(s)
Kuang-Yow Lian ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Chung Yuan Christian Univ., Chung Li, Taiwan ; Li-Sheng Wang ; Li-Chen Fu

The configuration space for rigid spacecraft systems in a central gravitational field can be modeled by SO(3)× IR3, where the special orthogonal group SO(3) represents the attitude dynamics and IR3 is for the orbital motion. The attitude dynamics of the spacecraft system is affected by the orbital elements through the well-known gravity-gradient torque. On the other hand, the effects of attitude-orbit coupling can also possibly be used to alter orbital motions by controlling the attitude. This controllability property is the primary issue of this paper. The control systems for spacecraft with either reaction wheels or gas jets being used as attitude controllers are proven in this study to be controllable. Rigorously establishing these results necessitates starting with the formal definitions of controllability and Poisson stability. It is then shown that if the drift vector field of the system is weakly positively Poisson stable and the Lie algebra rank condition is satisfied, controllability can be concluded. The Hamiltonian structure of the spacecraft model provides a natural route of verifying the property of weakly positive Poisson stability. Accordingly, the controllability is obtained after confirming the Lie algebra rank condition. Developing a methodology in deriving Lie brackets in the tangent space of T(SO(3)×IR3), i.e., the second tangent bundle is thus deemed necessary. A general formula is offered for the computation of Lie brackets of second tangent vector fields in TT(SO(3)m×IRn), in light of its importance in the fields of mechanics, robotics, optimal control, and nonlinear control, among others. With these tools, the controllability results can be proved. The analysis in this paper gives some insight into the attitude-orbit coupling effects and may potentially lead towards new techniques in designing controllers for large spacecraft systems

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 12 )