Fuzzy control allocation of microthrusters for space debris removal using CubeSats

Marsil A.C. Silva*, Minghe Shan, Angelo Cervone, Eberhard Gill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an innovative approach combining a fuzzy controller and a control allocation method applied to the control problem of allocating actuators’ efforts in an over-actuated system. The controller is applied to a space debris removal mission using a deployable net on-board a 3U CubeSat. The controller calculates the necessary effort of each thruster on-board the spacecraft to compensate the disturbances generated by the firing of the bullets attached to the borders of the net. Two cases with four and six thrusters are tested in a simulation scenario with experimental data. The simulation also covers the non-nominal situation of failure in one of the thrusters. A Monte Carlo simulation is performed in order to assess different scenarios. Results show that the proposed approach successfully recovers the stability of the satellite within a reasonable time. A comparison against a traditional control allocation method is done to assess the performance of the proposed approach specially in terms of computational time. Results with both methods are similar in terms of stabilization time and computational time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages12
JournalEngineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Control allocation
  • CubeSat
  • Fuzzy
  • Microthruster


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