Date of Award


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Mark Balas

Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Richard Prazenica

First Committee Member

Dr. Hever Moncayo

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sergey Drakunov

Third Committee Member

Dr. Tannen VanZwieten


This work demonstrates the efficacy of direct adaptive augmentation on a robotic flexible system as an analogue of a large flexible aerospace structure such as a launch vehicle or aircraft. To that end, a robot was constructed as a control system testbed. This robot, named “Penny,” contains the command and data acquisition capabilities necessary to influence and record system state data, including the flex states of its flexible structures. This robot was tested in two configurations, one with a vertically cantilevered flexible beam, and one with a flexible inverted pendulum (a flexible cart-pole system). The physical system was then characterized so that linear analysis and control design could be performed. These characterizations resulted in linear and nonlinear models developed for each testing configuration. The linear models were used to design linear controllers to regulate the nominal plant’s dynamical states. These controllers were then augmented with direct adaptive output regulation and disturbance accommodation. To accomplish this, sensor blending was used to shape the output such that the nonminimum phase open loop plant appears to be minimum phase to the controller. It was subsequently shown that augmenting linear controllers with direct adaptive output regulation and disturbance accommodation was effective in enhancing system performance and mitigating oscillation in the flexible structures through the system’s own actuation effort.