Security enhancement and cost reduction have become crucial goals for second-generation reusable launch vehicles (RLV). The thruster is an important actuator for an RLV, and its control normally requires a valve capable of high-frequency operation, which may lead to excessive wear or failure of the thruster valve. This paper aims at developing a thruster fault detection method that can deal with the thruster fault caused by the failure of the thruster valve and play an emergency role in the cases of hardware sensor failure. Firstly, the failure mechanism of the thruster was analyzed and modeled. Then, thruster fault detection was employed by introducing an angular velocity signal, using a blended filter, and determining an isolation threshold. In addition, to support the redundancy management of the thruster, an evaluation method of the nonlinear model-based numerical control prediction was proposed to evaluate whether the remaining fault-free thruster can track the attitude control response performance under the failure of the thruster valve. The simulation results showed that the method is stable and allowed for the effective detection of thruster faults and timely evaluation of recovery performance.
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