Agile spacecraft attitude control: An incremental nonlinear dynamic inversion approach

B. Paul Acquatella*, Qi Ping Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents an agile and robust spacecraft attitude tracking controller using the recently reformulated incremental nonlinear dynamic inversion (INDI). INDI is a combined model- and sensor-based control approach that only requires a control effectiveness model and measurements of the state and some of its derivatives, making a reduced dependency on exact system dynamics knowledge. The reformulated INDI allows a non-cascaded dynamic inversion control in terms of Modified Rodrigues Parameters (MRPs) where scheduling of the time-varying control effectiveness is done analytically. This way, the controller is only sensitive to parametric uncertainty of the augmented spacecraft inertia and its wheelset alignment. Moreover, we draw some parallels to time-delay control (TDC) -more familiar in the robotics community- which have been shown to be equivalent to the incremental formulation of proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control for second order nonlinear systems in controller canonical form. Simulation experiments for this particular problem demonstrate that INDI has similar nominal performance as TDC/PID control, but superior robust performance and stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5709-5716
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event21st IFAC World Congress 2020 - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 12 Jul 202017 Jul 2020


  • Aerospace
  • Application of nonlinear analysis
  • Design
  • Tracking


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