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Attitude Stabilization for Lunar and Planetary Lander with Variable Damper

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.2514/1.G000325

This paper describes an attitude control method that has been designed to prevent the overturning of lunar and planetary landers, based on a variable-damping shock absorber for the landing gear. Conventionally, the landing gear of lunar and planetary landers has a fixed shock attenuation parameter that is not used proactively for attitude control of the lander during the touchdown sequence. The new method enables the suppression of any disturbance to the attitude of the lander by adjusting the damping coefficient of each landing leg independently, based on the angular velocity vector and displacement velocity of each leg of the lander. The results of a numerical simulation indicate that the control rule for a three-dimensional system is effective for preventing the overturning of the lander on inclined terrain. The results of the simulation and experiments show that the landing gear with the actively variable damping and the control rule play a major role in preventing the overturning of a lunar or planetary lander.

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