Systematic performance-oriented guidance tuning for descent & landing on small planetary bodies Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2019

start page

  • 44

end page

  • 54


  • 158

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-5765

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2030


  • Descent & landing (D&L) on small planetary bodies are scientifically rewarding exploration missions but they are technically challenging due to the complex and poorly-known environment around those bodies. The standard guidance synthesis approach considers nominal conditions and applies optimal control theory to obtain guidance law gains, followed by intensive verification and validation. In this article, it is shown that the standard approach may yield gains that are not optimal once dispersions (and/or other optimality metrics) are taken into account and a tuning approach is then proposed based on a priori methodological system assessment. The proposed approach employs systematic high-fidelity simulations to generate trade-off maps. These maps can be generated by on ground operators based on the best estimated conditions and uploaded to the spacecraft as it approaches the target. The proposed systematic guidance tuning and resulting maps also provide a valuable understanding of the system dynamics towards the application of other industry-oriented tools such as structured ¿ ¿ optimisation. It is shown that the proposed tuning enables propellant consumption reductions of around 40% compared to state-of-practice gain selections. © 2018 IAA


  • descent & landing optimal guidance structured ¿ ¿ control economic and social effects planets exploration missions high-fidelity simulations optimal control theory optimal guidance performance-oriented propellant consumption small planetary bodies verification-and-validation air navigation