Control Allocation

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Redundant controls are ubiquitous in many aerospace domains, including aircraft, spacecraft, and launch vehicles. Multiple control effectors having different capabilities (e.g., reaction controls, aerosurfaces, and vectored engines) must be optimally allocated to achieve high-performance and robust vehicle control, while considering different constraints, cost, or performance metrics associated with various control mixing schemes. These can include force or deflection limits, rate limits, propellant usage or drag penalties, cross-axis coupling, uncertainties, or even servoelastic interactions.

This presentation introduces the fundamentals of control allocation theory, based on linear algebra and convex sets, using a handful of examples taken from the air and space vehicle domains. It is shown that even simple methods can provide verifiable and quantifiable performance benefits over ad-hoc approaches, and can support enhanced functions like fault tolerance and control reconfiguration.

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