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Dynamic autonomous intelligent control of an asteroid lander

Brown, Blair and McInnes, C.R. and Allouis, E. (2010) Dynamic autonomous intelligent control of an asteroid lander. Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 224 (8). pp. 865-879. ISSN 0893-1321

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Abstract

One of the future flagship missions of the European Space Agency (ESA) is the asteroid sample return mission Marco-Polo. Although there have been a number of past missions to asteroids, a sample has never been successfully returned. The return of asteroid regolith to the Earth's surface introduces new technical challenges. This paper develops attitude control algorithms for the descent phase onto an asteroid in micro-gravity conditions and draws a comparison between the algorithms considered. Two studies are also performed regarding the Fault Detection Isolation and Recovery (FDIR) of the control laws considered. The potential of using Direct Adaptive Control (DAC) as a controller for the surface sampling process is also investigated. Use of a DAC controller incorporates increased levels of robustness by allowing realtime variation of control gains. This leads to better response to uncertainties encountered during missions.