Date

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Adviser

Hart, Terry J.

Abstract

A robust test bed is needed to facilitate future development of guidance, navigation, and control software for future vehicles capable of vertical takeoff and landings. Specifically, this work aims to develop both a hardware and software simulator that can be used for future flight software development for extra-planetary vehicles. To achieve the program requirements of a high thrust to weight ratio with large payload capability, the vehicle is designed to have a novel combination of electric motors and a micro jet engine is used to act as the propulsion elements.The spacecraft simulator underwent several iterations of hardware development using different materials and fabrication methods. The final design used a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass that was cured under vacuum to serve as the frame of the vehicle which provided a strong, lightweight platform for all flight components and future payloads.The vehicle also uses an open source software development platform, Arduino, to serve as the initial flight computer and has onboard accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers to sense the vehicles attitude. To prevent instability due to noise, a polynomial kalman filter was designed and this fed the sensed angles and rates into a robust attitude controller which autonomously control the vehicle' s yaw, pitch, and roll angles.In addition to the hardware development of the vehicle itself, both a software simulation and a real time data acquisition interface was written in MATLAB/SIMULINK so that real flight data could be taken and then correlated to the simulation to prove the accuracy of theanalytical model.In result, the full scale vehicle was designed and own outside of the lab environment and data showed that the software model accurately predicted the flight dynamics of the vehicle.

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