ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Measuring Resilience of Autonomous Controllers to Missed Thrust Events on a Mars to Earth Trajectory
Ari Rubinsztejn, Rohan Sood, Frank E. Laipert
Presented at:
Virtual Conference 2021
Full paper:

As spacecraft adopt low-thrust electric propulsion to reduce propellant mass, they will need to contend with new challenges inherent in these technologies. Electric propulsion?s susceptibility to missed thrust events is especially challenging due to their stochastic nature and possibly missionending nature. While most research focuses on designing baseline trajectories resilient to missed thrust events, a new paradigm has recently emerged, autonomous recovery. With autonomous recovery, spacecraft do not need to wait for the flight controllers to design a new trajectory after a missed thrust event but can do so on board, saving time and allowing a faster response. This paper establishes metrics to compare different autonomous approaches and their responses to missed thrust events. Additionally, motivated by ESA?s Earth Return Orbiter in the Mars Sample Return mission concept, this work compares four different autonomous recovery methods for a sample Mars to Earth return trajectory.