Distributed magnetic attitude control for large space structures

Robb, B., McRobb, M. , Bailet, G. , Beeley, J. and McInnes, C. R. (2022) Distributed magnetic attitude control for large space structures. Acta Astronautica, 198, pp. 587-605. (doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2022.06.045)

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The utility of distributed magnetic torque rods for the attitude control of a large space structure is investigated. Distributed arrays of actuators offer advantages such as distributing structural loads, increasing fault tolerance, allowing structures to be designed modularly, and additionally the actuators may be integrated with on-orbit fabrication strategies. First, distributed torques are shown to effectively rotate highly flexible structures. This is compared with torques applied to the centre-of-mass of the structure, which cause large surface deformations and can fail to enact a rotation. This is demonstrated using a spring–mass model of a planar structure with embedded actuators. A distributed torque algorithm is then developed to control an individually addressable array of actuators. Attitude control simulations are performed, using the array to control a large space structure, again modelled as a spring–mass system. The attitude control system is demonstrated to effectively detumble a representative 75 × 75 m flexible structure, and perform slew manoeuvres, in the presence of both gravity-gradient torques and a realistic magnetic field model.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Chair in Emerging Technologies scheme. CM was also supported by a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:BAILET, Dr Rer Nat Gilles and Beeley, Dr James and McRobb, Dr Malcolm and McInnes, Professor Colin and Robb, Bonar
Authors: Robb, B., McRobb, M., Bailet, G., Beeley, J., and McInnes, C. R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Acta Astronautica
ISSN (Online):1879-2030
Published Online:04 July 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Acta Astronautica 198: 587-605
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
306654Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging TechnologiesColin McInnesRoyal Academy of Engineering (RAE)02/08/2019ENG - Systems Power & Energy
172105Ultra-low energy trajectories for near Earth asteroid capture and returnColin McInnesThe Royal Society (ROYSOC)WM150013ENG - Systems Power & Energy