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Adaptive Trajectory Reshaping & Control System (ATRC)

The ATRC initiative developed real time solution techniques and algorithms for a reconfigurable control and guidance system for autonomous resusable launch vehicles (RLVs). ATRC includes on-line parameter learning and real time reshaping of vehicle trajectories under uncertain damage/failure scenarios.

The U.S. Air Force, to keep pace with the demands of homeland security and global operations, is exploring methods for improved space utilization. A significant impediment to increased space utilization is the huge cost of launching operations, and the Air Force is investigating more affordable launch operations via a number of Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) programs. Part of the focus is on maintaining the economic viability of RLVs by enhancing operations safety and reliability: i.e., to improve RLV capabilities for responding to various uncertainties and emerging situations.

The ultimate goal of the Adaptive Trajectory Reshaping and Control System (ATRC) initiative was to develop technology that allows an autonomous RLV, when subjected to performance restricting damage and equipment shutdown, to avoid catastrophic failure. KBSI developed specific requirements for the design, development and demonstration of algorithms, and real time solution techniques for an adaptable and reconfigurable RLV command, control, and guidance system.

The Phase I initiative established a detailed ATRC architecture and defined an overall methodology for responding to the uncertainty caused by damage or equipment failure. KBSI identified the crucial components of the required technology and explored viable approaches for addressing the larger problem by developing innovative algorithms and demonstrating critical pieces of the technology through limited simulation events.

Phase II Development

In Phase II of the ATRC initiative, KBSI focused on developing real time solution techniques and algorithms for a reconfigurable RLV control and guidance system. This system includes on-line parameter learning and real time reshaping of vehicle trajectories under uncertain damage/failure scenarios.

Advancements in technology and computing power offer the likelihood of solving complex algorithms in real time, boosting the scope and capabilities of various autonomous operations like real-time, online trajectory computation. Taking advantage of these advancements, KBSI developed the ATRC system capability for continuously retargeting a feasible optimal trajectory for an air vehicle and for using an adaptive control algorithm for trajectory tracking. In Phase II, KBSI also developed, validated, and demonstrated the functionality of the various online algorithms for different components of the ATRC system, and demonstrated the concepts and capabilities of ATRC technology through high fidelity simulations.

The ATRC system technology is applicable in a wide variety of autonomous vehicles including uninhabited air, space, ground, and sea vehicles. Uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAV) are beginning to grow in popularity for military and commercial applications, and their changing roles will, in the future, encompass various new complex tactical operations such as reconnaissance, surveillance, tracking, cooperative search and attack, relay communications, target identification, navigational guidance, and more. The ATRC system technology is applicable for most of these uses.

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