Date of Award


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Hever Moncayo, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Dr. Mark Balas, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sergey Drakunov, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Dr. Mario Perhinschi, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Richard Prazenica, Ph.D.


The main topic of this dissertation is the design, development and implementation of intelligent adaptive control techniques designed to maintain healthy performance of aerospace systems subjected to malfunctions, external parameter changes and/or unmodeled dynamics. The dissertation is focused on the development of novel adaptive control configurations that rely on non-linear functions that appear in the immune system of living organisms as main source of adaptation. One of the main goals of this dissertation is to demonstrate that these novel adaptive control architectures are able to improve overall performance and protect the system while reducing control effort and maintaining adequate operation outside bounds of nominal design. This research effort explores several phases, ranging from theoretical stability analysis, simulation and hardware implementation on different types of aerospace systems including spacecraft, aircraft and quadrotor vehicles.

The results presented in this dissertation are focused on two main adaptivity approaches, the first one is intended for aerospace systems that do not attain large angles and use exact feedback linearization of Euler angle kinematics. A proof of stability is presented by means of the circle Criterion and Lyapunov’s direct method. The second approach is intended for aerospace systems that can attain large attitude angles (e.g. space systems in gravity-less environments), the adaptation is incorporated on a baseline architecture that uses partial feedback linearization of quaternions kinematics. In this case, the closed loop stability was analyzed using Lyapunov’s direct method and Barbalat’s Lemma. It is expected that some results presented in this dissertation can contribute towards the validation and certification of direct adaptive controllers.