Launcher Flight Control Design using Robust Wind Disturbance Observation Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2021

start page

  • 303

end page

  • 318


  • 186

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-5765

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2030


  • The development of effective load relief strategies is key to the improvement of launcher flight performance
    as it enables a joint increase of wind resilience and decrease of mass. This is particularly relevant for reusable
    launchers, which are aimed at maximising operational availability and payload capacity. Yet, despite various
    load relief advances in the aeronautics and wind energy sectors, classical feedback-only techniques remain
    the state-of-practice for launchers. In this article, an improved load relief functionality for reusable vehicles
    is proposed based on the use of a disturbance observer for on-board wind anticipation and a load relief
    compensator driven by the estimate of the wind for its amelioration.
    Two space systems are used to demonstrate the capabilities of the proposed approach. First, it is applied
    to a 3 degrees-of-freedom nonlinear simulation model of DLRs EAGLE vertical-flight demonstrator. Then, it is
    applied to a 6 degrees-of-freedom nonlinear simulation model of a generic lightweight, reusable launch vehicle.
    For both cases, the results highlight the benefits of using this type of wind-estimation/load-relief compensation
    schemes. Further, for the second case, which uses thrust vector control and planar fins for ascent and descent
    attitude control, it is also shown that the use of fins during ascent (which is not common practice), can further
    improve launcher performance


  • Electronics


  • disturbance observer; launch vehicles; robust control; wind rejection