Guidance and Controls of Hypersonic Reentry Vehicles

  • Research Area: Guidance and Controls of Hypersonic Reentry Vehicles

  • The ultimate goal of this project is to contribute to the guidance of future hypersonic reentry vehicles by developing candidate guidance algorithms that enhance performance relative to the state of the art. The objective for the students for the past several months has been to gain an understanding of the dynamics of reentry vehicles and to learn methods for controlling the trajectory of such vehicles.

    Each new generation strives to improve upon past technologies; as a result, there is a desire for increased performance during the reentry trajectory of space vehicles. One way to enhance the current capability of reentry vehicles is to allow for the vehicles to achieve greater distances through the refinement of a control algorithm.

    The forces acting on a capsule-shaped space vehicle during reentry include lift, drag, weight and thrust from the reaction control system (RCS) thrusters. The vehicle is steered to the landing site by changing the direction of the lift vector. This operation is carried out by the RCS thrusters which rotate the lift vector by changing the bank angle.