Closed-loop endo-atmospheric ascent guidance for reusable launch vehicle

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Sun, Hongsheng
Major Professor
Ping Lu
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Aerospace Engineering

The Department of Aerospace Engineering seeks to instruct the design, analysis, testing, and operation of vehicles which operate in air, water, or space, including studies of aerodynamics, structure mechanics, propulsion, and the like.

The Department of Aerospace Engineering was organized as the Department of Aeronautical Engineering in 1942. Its name was changed to the Department of Aerospace Engineering in 1961. In 1990, the department absorbed the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and became the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. In 2003 the name was changed back to the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

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  • Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (1990-2003)

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This dissertation focuses on the development of a closed-loop endo-atmospheric ascent guidance algorithm for the 2nd generation reusable launch vehicle. Special attention has been given to the issues that impact on viability, complexity and reliability in on-board implementation. The algorithm is called once every guidance update cycle to recalculate the optimal solution based on the current flight condition, taking into account atmospheric effects and path constraints. This is different from traditional ascent guidance algorithms which operate in a simple open-loop mode inside atmosphere, and later switch to a closed-loop vacuum ascent guidance scheme. The classical finite difference method is shown to be well suited for fast solution of the constrained optimal three-dimensional ascent problem. The initial guesses for the solutions are generated using an analytical vacuum optimal ascent guidance algorithm. Homotopy method is employed to gradually introduce the aerodynamic forces to generate the optimal solution from the optimal vacuum solution. The vehicle chosen for this study is the Lockheed Martin X-33 lifting-body reusable launch vehicle. To verify the algorithm presented in this dissertation, a series of open-loop and closed-loop tests are performed for three different missions. Wind effects are also studied in the closed-loop simulations. For comparison, the solutions for the same missions are also obtained by two independent optimization softwares. The results clearly establish the feasibility of closed-loop endo-atmospheric ascent guidance of rocket-powered launch vehicles. ATO cases are also tested to assess the adaptability of the algorithm to autonomously incorporate the abort modes.

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Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2005