Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2023) | Viewed by 9432

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Automation, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
Interests: flight dynamics and control; trajectory planning; formation flying control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Aeronautic Science and Engineering, Beihang University, No. 37, Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China
Interests: spacecraft motion planning and control; adaptive control; fault-tolerant control
College of Automation Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
Interests: robust constrained control and its application in aerospace engineering
School of Automation, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
Interests: flight vehicle dynamics; decision-making and control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A key trait of an atmospheric or space flight vehicle is the ability to autonomously plan its own motion trajectory and track the trajectory afterwards in order to accomplish specified flight tasks via jointly applying motion planning and control algorithms. The motion planning and control technique with strong autonomy, high safety, and high accuracy is the key to ensuring the success of flight tasks. In aerospace applications, the flight vehicle is usually required to operate in a complex environment without any collision with obstacles, whilst complying with some underlying motion and physical constraints, such as actuator input saturation, sensor pointing constraints, linear/angular velocity constraints, etc. Even though considerable progress has been made in the field of constrained motion planning, most of the existing methods are susceptible to model uncertainties and have limited constraint-handling capability, which may cause safety issues or, even worse, lead to mission failure. From a control perspective, the flight control systems may be subjected to parameter uncertainties, internal/external disturbances, actuator saturation, and faults, which necessitate the design of safe, reliable, and high-performance tracking controllers. A significant challenge arises when some of those issues are treated simultaneously. Moreover, certain transient and steady-state tracking performance demands further increase the difficulty of designing flight controllers. Despite recent advances, further study is needed to develop advanced motion planning and control methods with enhanced autonomy, safety, robustness, and constraint-handling capability for aerospace applications. This Special Issue aims to gather a collection of research papers and survey papers that can reflect the recent theoretical and technological advances in motion planning and control theory that have highly impacted aerospace engineering. The broad fields of motion planning and control methodologies and applications in aerospace systems are the major areas covered, together with connections to artificial intelligence, information theory, game theory, and other emerging technologies. 

Dr. Caisheng Wei
Dr. Xiaodong Shao
Dr. Kenan Yong
Dr. Zeyang Yin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • spacecraft
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • motion planning
  • pose measurement and estimation
  • position and attitude dynamics
  • trajectory optimization
  • rendezvous and docking
  • flight task decision making and assignment
  • intelligent control
  • system identification
  • fault diagnosis and fault-tolerant control
  • prescribed performance control
  • anti-disturbance control
  • model predictive control

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 11865 KiB  
Article
A Real-Time and Optimal Hypersonic Entry Guidance Method Using Inverse Reinforcement Learning
by Linfeng Su, Jinbo Wang and Hongbo Chen
Aerospace 2023, 10(11), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10110948 - 07 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
The mission of hypersonic vehicles faces the problem of highly nonlinear dynamics and complex environments, which presents challenges to the intelligent level and real-time performance of onboard guidance algorithms. In this paper, inverse reinforcement learning is used to address the hypersonic entry guidance [...] Read more.
The mission of hypersonic vehicles faces the problem of highly nonlinear dynamics and complex environments, which presents challenges to the intelligent level and real-time performance of onboard guidance algorithms. In this paper, inverse reinforcement learning is used to address the hypersonic entry guidance problem. The state-control sample pairs and state-rewards sample pairs obtained by interacting with hypersonic entry dynamics are used to train the neural network by applying the distributed proximal policy optimization method. To overcome the sparse reward problem in the hypersonic entry problem, a novel reward function combined with a sophisticated discriminator network is designed to generate dense optimal rewards continuously, which is the main contribution of this paper. The optimized guidance methodology can achieve good terminal accuracy and high success rates with a small number of trajectories as datasets while satisfying heating rate, overload, and dynamic pressure constraints. The proposed guidance method is employed for two typical hypersonic entry vehicles (Common Aero Vehicle-Hypersonic and Reusable Launch Vehicle) to demonstrate the feasibility and potential. Numerical simulation results validate the real-time performance and optimality of the proposed method and indicate its suitability for onboard applications in the hypersonic entry flight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications)
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15 pages, 1012 KiB  
Article
Flight Tracking Control for Helicopter Attitude and Altitude Systems Using Output Feedback Method under Full State Constraints
by Yankai Li, Yulong Huang, Dongping Li, Yuan Sun, Han Liu and Yongze Jin
Aerospace 2023, 10(8), 696; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10080696 - 07 Aug 2023
Viewed by 875
Abstract
In this paper, we propose an output feedback flight tracking control scheme for helicopter attitude and altitude systems with unmeasured states under full state constraints. Firstly, a state observer is constructed based on the measured output signals, which is proven to be rigorous [...] Read more.
In this paper, we propose an output feedback flight tracking control scheme for helicopter attitude and altitude systems with unmeasured states under full state constraints. Firstly, a state observer is constructed based on the measured output signals, which is proven to be rigorous since all states are constrained within the desired and assigned scopes. Secondly, the flight tracking controller is built using the state estimations with the full state constraints control method. Then, the Barrier Lyapunov function method is adopted to guarantee the stability of the composite closed-loop nonlinear error systems. Meanwhile, the linear matrix inequality technology is applied to calculate the gains of the state observer. Finally, a numerical simulation example is provided to confirm the reasonableness of the full state constraint output feedback flight tracking control method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications)
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18 pages, 1642 KiB  
Article
Full State Constrained Flight Tracking Control for Helicopter Systems with Disturbances
by Yankai Li, Yulong Huang, Han Liu and Dongping Li
Aerospace 2023, 10(5), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10050471 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 925
Abstract
In this paper, a full state-constrained anti-disturbance dynamic surface control method is proposed for six-degree-of-freedom unmanned helicopter systems under full state constraints and disturbances. Firstly, due to the underactuated characteristics of six-degree-of-freedom unmanned helicopter systems, an input–output feedback linearization method is used to [...] Read more.
In this paper, a full state-constrained anti-disturbance dynamic surface control method is proposed for six-degree-of-freedom unmanned helicopter systems under full state constraints and disturbances. Firstly, due to the underactuated characteristics of six-degree-of-freedom unmanned helicopter systems, an input–output feedback linearization method is used to transform the complex nonlinear systems into facilitated-control nonlinear ones. Based on the transformed systems, the nonlinear disturbance-observer-based control, backstepping control and Barrier Lyapunov function methods are used to construct the flight controller via uniting the state constraint control and dynamic surface control technologies. Then, Lyapunov stability theory is adopted for analysing the closed-loop tracking error systems, which confirms that the tracking errors are bounded under the proposed flight control scheme. Finally, a simulation in the MATLAB/Simulink environment verifies that the unmanned helicopter system can constrain all states under the action of the designed controller, with good dynamic performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications)
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16 pages, 3434 KiB  
Article
In-Plane Libration Suppression of a Two-Segment Tethered Towing System
by Shouxu Chen, Weidong Chen, Ti Chen and Junjie Kang
Aerospace 2023, 10(3), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10030286 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
A tethered towing system provides an effective method for capturing pieces of space debris and dragging them out of orbit. This paper focuses on the in-plane stability analysis and libration control of a two-segment tethered towing system. The first segment is the same [...] Read more.
A tethered towing system provides an effective method for capturing pieces of space debris and dragging them out of orbit. This paper focuses on the in-plane stability analysis and libration control of a two-segment tethered towing system. The first segment is the same as the traditional single-tether towing system. The second segment is similar to a simplified space tether net. The dynamic equations are established in the orbit frame. Considering the elasticity of the tethers, the equilibrium solutions are obtained and the stability of equilibrium solutions is proved. An in-plane libration controller based on the sliding mode control scheme is designed to ensure the safety of the towing mission and save fuel. The controller suppressed the librations of the in-plane angles in the desired state by applying two external torques. Finally, simulation results are provided to validate the effectiveness of the proposed controller. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications)
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26 pages, 6355 KiB  
Article
High-Performance Attitude Control Design of Supersonic Tailless Aircraft: A Cascaded Disturbance Rejection Approach
by Zian Wang, Lei Hu, Wanghua Fei, Dapeng Zhou, Dapeng Yang, Chenxi Ma, Zheng Gong, Jin Wu, Chengxi Zhang and Yi Yang
Aerospace 2023, 10(2), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10020198 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1975
Abstract
This paper focuses on the triaxial augmentation ability of the active disturbance rejection control (ADRC) technique on the tailless layout with a fully moving wing tip to achieve high control performance for the supersonic tailless aircraft. Firstly, the stability characteristics and controllability of [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the triaxial augmentation ability of the active disturbance rejection control (ADRC) technique on the tailless layout with a fully moving wing tip to achieve high control performance for the supersonic tailless aircraft. Firstly, the stability characteristics and controllability of the flying wing layout are analyzed to determine the coupling characteristics of this kind of aircraft. Secondly, an attitude controller is designed based on ADRC theory, and the linear ADRC frequency domain analysis method is introduced to analyze the influence of the bandwidth of linear extended stator on the control system. In addition, the tuning process of the attitude control law is given. Carrier dropping simulations of flight missions under nominal condition, model parameter perturbation, and wind disturbance are conducted. The results show that the designed controller can achieve full-speed domain triaxial augmentation of supersonic flying wing. This work has the potential to significantly boost the engineering acceptability and robustness of supersonic aircraft control design in real-world scenarios. The presented cascaded ADRC approach can significantly improve the performance and robustness of supersonic vehicles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications)
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19 pages, 3379 KiB  
Article
Spherical Formation Tracking Control of Non-Holonomic UAVs with State Constraints and Time Delays
by Xiang Ai, Ya Zhang and Yang-Yang Chen
Aerospace 2023, 10(2), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10020118 - 26 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1083
Abstract
This paper addresses a novel spherical formation tracking control problem of multiple UAVs with time-varying delays in the directed communication network, where the dynamics of each UAV is non-holonomic and in the presence of spatiotemporal flowfields. The state constraints (that is, position and [...] Read more.
This paper addresses a novel spherical formation tracking control problem of multiple UAVs with time-varying delays in the directed communication network, where the dynamics of each UAV is non-holonomic and in the presence of spatiotemporal flowfields. The state constraints (that is, position and velocity constraints) are derived from our previous differential geometry method and the F–S formulas. The state constraints and time delays in the directed communication network bring many difficulties to controller design. To this end, a virtual-structure-like design is given to achieve a formation with delayed information by using Lyapunov–Krasovskii functionals, and then proposing a barrier Lyapunov function for the satisfaction of state constraints to design a novel spherical formation tracking algorithm. The general assumption of the rate of change of time-varying delays, and a certain initial position and velocity adjustment range are given. Simulation results show the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Motion Planning and Control in Aerospace Applications)
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