The ATRC initiative developed real time solution techniques and algorithms for a reconfigurable control and guidance system for autonomous reusable launch vehicles (RLVs). ATRC includes on-line parameter learning and real time reshaping of vehicle trajectories under uncertain damage/failure scenarios.
The U.S. Air Force, to keep pace with the demands of homeland security and global operations, is exploring methods for improved space utilization. A significant impediment to increased space utilization is the huge cost of launching operations, and the Air Force is investigating more affordable launch operations via a number of Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) programs. Part of the focus is on maintaining the economic viability of RLVs by enhancing operations safety and reliability; i.e., to improve RLV capabilities for responding to various uncertainties and emerging situations.
The APCC system provides guidance and control (G&C) for a smart LFL Seeker projectile engaging a moving enemy target. The system consists of various algorithms for tracking targets, tracking projectiles, and providing guidance and control for projectile course correction.
The Active Projectile Course Correction System (APCC) initiative, funded by the U.S. Army’s TACOM-ARDEC, investigated the development of an APCC system that provides guidance and control (G&C) for a smart LFL Seeker projectile engaging a moving enemy target. The projectile is equipped with an on-board Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) staring sensor that provides target images for tracking, inertial sensors for projectile trajectory feedback, and side thrusters/diverters for projectile course correction. The LFL Seeker projectile is also spin stabilized; though spin provides stability to the projectile’s linear motion, it also poses the greatest challenge for the design and implementation of a G&C algorithm: the projectile motion that needs to be controlled—and the target motion that needs to be tracked—is in the inertial frame, while all on-board sensors and control mechanisms (diverters) are in the non-inertial rotating frame.
The goal of this initiative, funded by the Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was to develop a novel, radical approach for mission planning and operation that uses principles of dynamic inversion and constraint orthogonal polynomial basis (COPB) functions for solving a two-point boundary value problem for a non-flat (under-actuated) non-linear differential equation of motion. The Mission Planning and Operation Director (M-POD) for Space Access Vehicles technology allowed mission planners to prepare a complete mission plan in a matter of hours instead of months.