A Low-Cost and Low-Risk Testbed for Control Design of Launch Vehicles and Landing Systems

William J Elke, Jing Pei, Ryan J. Caverly, Demoz Gebre-Egziabher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


This research seeks to bridge the gap between the sim-ulation/theory and the flight-testing phases of control algorithm design for launch vehicles (LV s) and landing systems (LSs). This paper reviews contemporary testbeds for LV and LS control system design with an emphasis on reducing costs and risks. Also, a new low-cost and low-risk testbed utilizing a quadcopter, flexible inverted pendulum, and a hanging pendulum is proposed. It is shown that the planar dynamic response of this proposed testbed can match the planar dynamic response of an LV. As mission objectives for frequent cislunar and interplanetary travel become more complex, the algorithms that control LV s and LSs need to become more advanced to ensure mission safety and success. These control systems are slow to mature because it is difficult to perform experiments in an environment relevant to the mission in a safe and cost-effective manner. A solution to this problem frequently leveraged in the aviation and satellite industries involves mimicking the dynamic response of the vehicle with a test platform that is low-cost and low-risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2021
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781728174365
StatePublished - Mar 6 2021
Event2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2021 - Big Sky, United States
Duration: Mar 6 2021Mar 13 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Conference2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the NASA Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) under Grant No. 80NSSC19K1672 issued through the NASA Fellowships Program under MUREP funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IEEE.


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