Optimal Online Path Planning for Approach and Landing Guidance


A method for solving finite-horizon optimal control of nonlinear systems has been developed in this paper and used for an online path planning problem. The new controller synthesis is motivated by the state-dependent Riccati equation (SDRE) technique that was developed for solving regulator and tracking problems. However, finite-time problems need to meet specified boundary conditions for the associated Riccati equations. A closed form solution, called the Finite-SDRE, is obtained for the time-varying Riccati equations by using certain approximations. The application in this paper is the closed loop guidance of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) during its approach and landing (A&L) phase in such a way to land the RLV at a fixed downrange with the least possible vertical velocity and flight path angle. Simulation studies show that the controller provides an excellent performance in terms of meeting the objectives and is quite robust to initial conditions. © 2011 by A. Heydari & S.N. Balakrishnan.

Meeting Name

AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference 2011 (2011: Aug. 8-11, Portland, OR)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2011 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

11 Aug 2011