Fault-tolerant control allocation for Mars entry vehicle using adaptive control Academic Article uri icon


  • Accurate and reliable control of planetary entry is a major challenge for planetary exploration vehicles. For Mars entry, uncertainties in atmospheric properties such as winds aloft and density pose a major problem for meeting precision landing requirements. Anticipated manned missions to Mars will also require levels of safety and fault tolerance not required during earlier robotic missions. This paper develops a nonlinear fault-tolerant controller specifically tailored for addressing the unique environmental and mission demands of future Mars entry vehicles. The controller tracks a desired trajectory from entry interface to parachute deployment, and has an adaptation mechanism that reduces tracking errors in the presence of uncertain parameters such as atmospheric density, and vehicle properties such as aerodynamic coefficients and inertias. This nonlinear control law generates the commanded moments for a discrete control allocation algorithm, which then generates the optimal controls required to follow the desired trajectory. The reaction control system acts as a non-uniform quantizer, which generates applied moments that approximate the desired moments generated by a continuous adaptive control law. If a fault is detected in the control jets, it reconfigures the controls and minimizes the impact of control failures or damage on trajectory tracking. It is assumed that a fault identification and isolation scheme already exists to identify failures. A stability analysis is presented, and fault tolerance performance is evaluated with non real-time simulation for a complete Mars entry trajectory tracking scenario using various scenarios of control effector failures. The results presented in the paper demonstrate that the control algorithm has a satisfactory performance for tracking a pre-defined trajectory in the presence of control failures, in addition to plant and environment uncertainties. 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Marwaha, M., & Valasek, J.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Marwaha, Monika||Valasek, John

publication date

  • February 2011