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Title: Cross entropy-based analysis of spacecraft control systems
Author: Mujumdar, Anusha Pradeep
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 8451
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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Space missions increasingly require sophisticated guidance, navigation and control algorithms, the development of which is reliant on verification and validation (V&V) techniques to ensure mission safety and success. A crucial element of V&V is the assessment of control system robust performance in the presence of uncertainty. In addition to estimating average performance under uncertainty, it is critical to determine the worst case performance. Industrial V&V approaches typically employ mu-analysis in the early control design stages, and Monte Carlo simulations on high-fidelity full engineering simulators at advanced stages of the design cycle. While highly capable, such techniques present a critical gap between pessimistic worst case estimates found using analytical methods, and the optimistic outlook often presented by Monte Carlo runs. Conservative worst case estimates are problematic because they can demand a controller redesign procedure, which is not justified if the poor performance is unlikely to occur. Gaining insight into the probability associated with the worst case performance is valuable in bridging this gap. It should be noted that due to the complexity of industrial-scale systems, V&V techniques are required to be capable of efficiently analysing non-linear models in the presence of significant uncertainty. As well, they must be computationally tractable. It is desirable that such techniques demand little engineering effort before each analysis, to be applied widely in industrial systems. Motivated by these factors, this thesis proposes and develops an efficient algorithm, based on the cross entropy simulation method. The proposed algorithm efficiently estimates the probabilities associated with various performance levels, from nominal performance up to degraded performance values, resulting in a curve of probabilities associated with various performance values. Such a curve is termed the probability profile of performance (PPoP), and is introduced as a tool that offers insight into a control system's performance, principally the probability associated with the worst case performance. The cross entropy-based robust performance analysis is implemented here on various industrial systems in European Space Agency-funded research projects. The implementation on autonomous rendezvous and docking models for the Mars Sample Return mission constitutes the core of the thesis. The proposed technique is implemented on high-fidelity models of the Vega launcher, as well as on a generic long coasting launcher upper stage. In summary, this thesis (a) develops an algorithm based on the cross entropy simulation method to estimate the probability associated with the worst case, (b) proposes the cross entropy-based PPoP tool to gain insight into system performance, (c) presents results of the robust performance analysis of three space industry systems using the proposed technique in conjunction with existing methods, and (d) proposes an integrated template for conducting robust performance analysis of linearised aerospace systems.
Supervisor: Menon, Prathyush Purushothama ; Edwards, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: optimization ; robust control ; control analysis ; uncertainty quantification ; cross entropy ; simulation ; spacecraft