Reconfigurable Guidance for Reusable Launch Vehicles

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS8-02018
Agency Tracking Number: 001305
Amount: $530,032.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1160 Pepsi Place, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA, 22901
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 John Schierman
 Research Scientist
 (804) 973-1215
Business Contact
 B. Eugene Parker,
Title: Chairman
Phone: (804) 973-1215
Research Institution
The flight envelope for X-34 ranges from subsonic to hypersonic with altitudes up to 50 miles. Designing a guidance law that performs across this broad flight envelope presents several challenges. Robustness to uncertain aerodynamics is of paramount importance because of the sparse amount of wind tunnel and flight test data that exists for reusable launch vehicles at hypersonic Mach numbers. The need to compensate for potential control surface failures imposes additional guidance requirements. Barron Associates, Inc. (BAI) has teamed with Orbital Sciences Corporation to develop control and guidance systems that can reconfigure in real time to significantly increase the reliability of reusable launch vehicles. An innovative modular architecture, presently under development, will be used to reshape trajectories on-line. We believe that leveraging this concurrent effort is a main strength of the proposal. The approach autonomously identifies the closed-inner-loop dynamics and adapts the guidance for off-nominal performance. In Phase I, a modification of the existing X-34 energy management approach will be investigated. A more formal optimization technique developed and matured by BAI will also be considered. Studies will focus on aerodynamic uncertainties and control failures that primarily affect lateral-directional maneuvering capabilities, which are critical in managing vehicle energy for unpowered descent.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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