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Utah State University


Logan, UT

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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This book is designed for a one-semester course at Utah State University titled MAE 6570 Optimal Spacecraft Guidance. The class meets for 75 minutes, twice per week, for 14 weeks. There are no prerequisites other than graduate standing in engineering. Proficiency in calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and computer programming is required. Students find that previous experience in space dynamics, linear multivariable control, or optimal control is helpful.

The goal of the book and course is for students to develop fundamental skills needed to do professional work in the area of spacecraft guidance. After working through the book, students should have an understanding of the linear quadratic framework, E-guidance, Q-guidance, Apollo descent guidance, and more. To this end, the book contains seven chapters. An approximate timeline for the course is the following.

• Chapter 1 | Week 1

• Chapter 2 | Weeks 2 and 3

• Chapter 3 | Weeks 4 and 5

• Chapter 4 | Weeks 6, 7, and 8

• Chapter 5 | Weeks 9 and 10

• Chapter 6 | Weeks 11 and 12

• Chapter 7 | Weeks 13 and 14

Three dynamical models are used throughout to illustrate the concepts. These models are a nonlinear two-body model, a linear flat planet model, and a linear relative orbital motion model. A key feature of the book is its integration of MATLAB implementations into the text as early as possible. For example, Chapter 1 includes a Q-guidance implementation, Chapter 2 includes a polynomial guidance implementation, and so on. Each chapter ends with a set of problems suitable for independent homework. Several of the chapter problems require modification or extension of these implementations. The final two chapters focus on descent guidance and ascent guidance. By this point, students are expected to be coding independently.