Feedback control of tethered satellites using Liapunov stability theory Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper treats the three dimensional aspects of tethered satellite deployment and retrieval. Feedback control laws with guaranteed closed loop stabilizability are obtained using the second method of Liapunov. Tether mass and aerodynamic effects are not included in the design of the control laws. First, a coordinate transformation is presented that partially uncouples the in-plane and out-of-plane dynamics. A combination of tension control as well as out-of-plane thrusting is shown to be adequate for a speedy retrieval. Next, a unified control design method based on an integral of motion (for the coupled system) is presented. It is shown that the controller designed by the latter method is superior to that of the former primarily from the out-of-plane thrust usage point of view. A detailed analysis of stability of the closed loop system is presented and existence of limit cycles is ruled out if out-of-plane thrusting is used in conjunction with tension control. Finally a tether rate control law is also developed using the integral of motion mentioned above. The control laws developed in the paper can also be used for stationkeeping.

name of conference

  • Dynamics Specialists Conference

published proceedings

  • Dynamics Specialists Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • VADALI, S.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors


publication date

  • April 1990