Nonlinear optimal control for free-floating space robotic manipulators

G. Rigatos*, J. Pomares, M. Abbaszadeh, K. Busawon, Z. Gao, F. Zouari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Free-floating space robotic manipulators (FSRMs) are robotic arms mounted on space platforms, such as spacecraft or satellites which are used for the repair of space vehicles or the removal of noncooperating targets such as inactive material remaining in orbit. In this paper, a novel nonlinear optimal control method is applied to the dynamic model of FSRMs. First, the state-space model of a 3-DOF free-floating space robot is formulated and its differential flatness properties are proven. This model undergoes approximate linearization around a temporary operating point that is recomputed at each time-step of the control method. The linearization relies on Taylor series expansion and on the associated Jacobian matrices. For the linearized state-space model of the free-floating space robot a stabilizing optimal (H-infinity) feedback controller is designed. This controller stands for the solution of the nonlinear optimal control problem under model uncertainty and external perturbations. To compute the controller’s feedback gains an algebraic Riccati equation is repetitively solved at each iteration of the control algorithm. The stability properties of the control method are proven through Lyapunov analysis. The proposed nonlinear optimal control approach achieves fast and accurate tracking of setpoints under moderate variations of the control inputs and a minimum dispersion of energy by the actuators of the free-floating space robot.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2450001
Number of pages35
JournalSpacecraft and Satellites
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2024

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