Analytic Transfer Functions for the Dynamics & Control of Flexible Rotating Spacecraft Performing Large Angle Maneuvers Academic Article uri icon


  • American Astronautical Society 2015. A symmetric flexible rotating spacecraft can be modeled as a distributed parameter system of a rigid hub attached to two flexible appendages with tip masses. First, Hamiltons extended principle is utilized to establish a general treatment for deriving the dynamics of multi-body dynamical systems to establish a hybrid system of integro-partial differential equations that model the evolution of the system in space and time. A Generalized State Space (GSS) system of equations is constructed in the frequency domain to obtain analytic transfer functions for the rotating spacecraft. This model does not include spatial discretization. The frequency response of the generally modeled spacecraft and a special case with no tip masses are presented. Numerical results for the system frequency response obtained from the analytic transfer functions are presented and compared against the classical assumed modes numerical method with two choices of admissible functions. The truncation-errorfree analytic results are used to validate the numerical approximations and to agree well with the classical widely used finite dimensional numerical solutions. Fundamentally, we show that the rigorous transfer function, without introduction of spatial discretization, can be directly used in control law design with a guarantee of Lyapunov stable closed loop dynamics. The frequency response of the system is used in a classical control problem where the Lyapunov stable controller is derived and tested for gain selection. The correlation between the controller design in the frequency domain utilizing the analytic transfer functions and the system response is analyzed and verified. The derived analytic transfer functions provide a powerful tool to test various control schemes in the frequency domain and a validation platform for existing numerical methods for distributed parameters models. The same platform has been used to obtain the frequency response of more complex beam models following Timoshenko beam theory and the control problem for such models can be pursued in future works.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Elgohary, T. A., Turner, J. D., & Junkins, J. L.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Elgohary, Tarek A||Turner, James D||Junkins, John L

publication date

  • June 2015