Controllability and Observability for Flexible Spacecraft Academic Article uri icon


  • Current interest in extended sensing and actuation for the control of flexible spacecraft has led to the use of modern multivariable control theory and the associated concepts of controllability and observability. This paper shows how to evaluate these properties on a mode-by-mode basis for flexible spacecraft control analysis. Relatively simple criteria are derived which indicate the degree of controllability (observability) of each mode in simple literal terms. These criteria provide physical insight and practical guidance on the type, number, and positioning of sensors and actuators. The results are interpreted for force and torque actuators and for attitude and deformation measurements. To illustrate these ideas, sample controllability and observability surfaces are presented for the Purdue generic flexible spacecraft model. 1980 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics

author list (cited authors)

  • Hughes, P. C., & Skelton, R. E.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Hughes, Peter C||Skelton, Robert E

publication date

  • September 1980