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Control of MicrowavePropelled Sails Using Delayed Measurements

Summary: Control of Microwave­Propelled Sails Using Delayed
E. Schamiloglu, C.T. Abdallah, # D. Georgiev, + J. Benford, # and G. Benford §
March 21, 2003
Submitted to the STAIF 2002
This paper is concerned with the control of carbon fiber sail structures that are being studied in
a series of experiments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and at the University of California,
Irvine. The passive dynamic stability in the one­dimensional (1­D) case was studied in an earlier paper
in terms of the fixed points of the trajectories for the governing equations ofmotion. The simple 1­D
model introduced the possibility of controlling a microwave­propelled sail using various nonlinear control
strategies, using both position and velocity measurements. In the current paper, we assume that velocity
measurements are unavailable, and that the position measurements are delayed (due to the finite speed
of light). We then use a novel feedback that employs delayed position measurements only to stabilize
the sail about an equilibrium position. The paper will also contain preliminary results on studying the
stability of the full 3­D sail model, and potential control strategies.
1 Introduction
Microwave­propelled sails belong to a class of spacecrafts that promises to revolutionize future space travel.
As an example, NASA's Gossamer Spacecraft Initiative focuses on developing spacecraft architectures for
very large, ultra­lightweight apertures and structures. A goal of this initiative is to achieve breakthrough


Source: Abdallah, Chaouki T- Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of New Mexico


Collections: Engineering