Energy optimal spacecraft attitude control subject to convergence rate constraints

Nadjim Horri, Phil Palmer, Mark Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Attitude control of operational satellites is still predominantly performed by standard controllers such as Proportional plus Derivative (PD) control laws, which are still preferred for implementation to the computationally intensive nonlinear optimal control techniques, representing higher implementation complexity. In this paper, an inverse optimal control approach based on phase space geometry is presented, which is easy to implement and free from numerical and computational issues. The optimal control objective is to minimize a norm of the control torque subject to a rapidity constraint on the convergence rate of a Lyapunov function, under the effect of a benchmark controller. The proposed optimization method is shown to significantly enhance the torque-rapidity trade-off compared to the benchmark controller, chosen to be a PD law then a sliding mode controller. The inverse optimal control scheme is implemented on an air bearing table experimental platform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1315
Number of pages19
JournalControl Engineering Practice
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Optimal
  • Attitude control
  • Geometric
  • Minimum norm
  • Lyapunov
  • Air bearing table

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering

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