Resilient Descent and Landing Design and Analysis for Spacecraft Exploration

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Aerospace Engineering


A UK Space Agency (UKSA) funded study performed by Airbus DS Stevenage (ADS-STV) and the University of Bristol (UoB) has identified a common structure in both state-of-practice and state-of-the-art guidance and control (G&C) command laws for autonomous descent and landing on small bodies. This led to proposing a new G&C framework built upon existing classical-based guidance techniques for landing (e.g. Proportional Navigation Guidance PNG, and optimal Free/Constrained Terminal Velocity Guidance FTVG/CTVG), to nonlinear approaches (Sliding Mode Control SMC) and including recent robust control non-smooth tuning optimizers. The study showed the feasibility of the considered G&C techniques and framework, as well as providing understanding on the issues and required advances for successful transfer to Industry.
This PhD will build on the aforementioned UKSA study but focus on the definition of an integrated G&C design and analysis framework capable of addressing the identified (robust and nonlinear) issues. Analytical techniques for modelling and analysis of epistemic and aleatory mission effects (including degradation and malfunctions) will be considered in the pursuit of reconciling the design and the analysis processes. The example of descent and landing on the Martian moon Phobos will be used as both a strategic and archetypal study case -the developed design and analysis methods and tools will be applied to ADS-STV nonlinear, high-fidelity functional engineering simulator (FES) for this mission (which is currently being evaluated as ESA's next exploration mission).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509619/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1940095 Studentship EP/N509619/1 18/09/2017 31/03/2021 Henri French