Dynamics and Control

All modern aerospace vehicles rely upon an understanding of dynamics and control to improve system performance. Successful system design requires an understanding of the interactions of dynamic elements, and the trade-offs between vehicle dynamic characteristics, control system properties, and system performance.

Current research is divided into the following areas: aircraft design for improved handling qualities, astrodynamics, robust and nonlinear control theory and applications, estimation theory and applications, dynamics and control of flexible spacecraft, mission design, modeling and control of aeroelastic aircraft, spacecraft maneuvers and trajectory analysis and optimization.

Certain research projects and teaching activities require advanced and specialized laboratory facilities. The Control Systems Laboratory (CSL) contains high-end workstations. The mission of the CSL is to develop methods and tools (software) for the analysis and design of complex dynamical systems and to promote the availability and use of the methods by teaching relevant courses and interacting with industry. Experiments used for undergraduate instruction include a two-degree-of-freedom helicopter experiment, a three-degree-of freedom rotational system to emulate the attitude dynamics of a flexible spacecraft, and an inverted pendulum. Remotely Piloted Vehicle, currently under development, represents a unique research facility upon which to perform many experiments in vehicle dynamics and control. Data communication with a computer based ground station is provided by a seven channel telemetry downlink.