Autonomous Controlled Landing on Cometary Bodies

Abstract:

A simulation environment is developed that will propagate a controlled orbit about asteroid and cometary bodies in the solar system. This simulation allows as input the location and orbit of the central body, and includes models for the gravitational field, continuous atmospheres, and outgassing jets. The simulation is based on Microcosm’s High-Precision Orbit Propagator, and can be used for a variety of mission analyses.

Control algorithms for autonomous controlled landing on a cometary body were developed. These algorithms will guide the spacecraft though a series of predetermined waypoints down to the surface of the comet. A control module was integrated into a simulator to implement these algorithms. The controller was then tested under a variety of situations. The algorithms maintained control of the spacecraft at all times and achieved the desired spacecraft end state to a high degree of accuracy.

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Dawson, Simon, Curtis Potterveld, Hans Konigsmann, Leo Early. 1998. “Autonomous Controlled Landing on Cometary Bodies,” Proceedings of the AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, AAS 98-185.