Recent space programs require agile and large-angle attitude maneuvers for applications in various fields such as observational astronomy. To achieve agility and large-angle attitude maneuvers, it will be required to design an attitude control system that takes into account nonlinear motion because agile and large-angle rotational motion of a spacecraft in such missions represents a nonlinear system. Considerable research has been done about the nonlinear attitude tracking control of spacecraft, and these methods involve a continuous-time control framework. However, since a computer, which is a digital device, is employed as a spacecraft controller, the control method should have discrete-time control or sampled-data control framework. This chapter considers discrete-time nonlinear attitude tracking control problem of spacecraft. To this end, a Euler approximation system with respect to tracking error is first derived. Then, we design a discrete-time nonlinear attitude tracking controller so that the closed-loop system consisting of the Euler approximation system becomes input-to-state stable (ISS). Furthermore, the exact discrete-time system with a derived controller is indicated semiglobal practical asymptotic (SPA) stable. Finally, the effectiveness of proposed control method is verified by numerical simulations.
Part of the book: Gyroscopes