Synthesis and analysis of robust control compensators for Space descent & landing

P. Simplício*, A. Marcos, E. Joffre, M. Zamaro, N. Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
287 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, a complete modelling, synthesis, and analysis methodology of control compensators for descent and landing (D&L) on small planetary bodies is presented. These missions are scientifically very rewarding but technically extremely challenging due to the complex and poorly known environment around those bodies, which calls for the ability to manage competing robustness and performance requirements. While this issue is typically addressed via the redefinition of D&L guidance strategies, here, it is tackled through the augmentation with a simple yet robust control compensator. This compensator is designed using linear fractional transformation modelling to capture the interplay with uncertain gravity fields and the recently developed structured (Formula presented.) optimisation framework, which has been proved particularly suitable for industry-oriented applications. The proposed approach is completely generic but uses the scenario of a landing on the Martian moon Phobos as an illustrative example. Different compensators are then verified and compared analytically via the structured singular value μ and through high-fidelity Monte Carlo simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3871-3892
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control
Issue number13
Early online date9 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2018


  • descent & landing
  • gravitational uncertainty modelling
  • structured
  • μ analysis


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