Date of Award

Spring 2023

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Morad Nazari

First Committee Member

K. Merve Dogan

Second Committee Member

Daewon Kim

Third Committee Member

Riccardo Bevilacqua

College Dean

James W. Gregory


Space vehicles that implement hardware such as antennas, solar panels, and other extended appendages necessary for their respective missions must consider the nonlinear rotational and vibrational dynamics of these flexible structures. Formulation and analysis of these flexible structures must account for the rigid-flexible coupling present in the system dynamics for stability analysis and control design. The system model is represented by a flexible appendage attached to a central rigid body, where the flexible appendage is modeled as a cantilevered Euler-Bernoulli beam. Discretization techniques, such as the assumed modes method and the finite element method, are used to model the coupled dynamics by transforming the partial differential equations of motion into a finite set of differential equations. State feedback control laws are designed to achieve stability and desired motion in the presence of rigid-flexible coupling. An optimal control law in the form of a linear quadratic regulator is presented and compared with a Lyapunov-based control law that guarantees asymptotic stability. Conventional and adaptive sliding mode control laws are also presented to account for any uncertainties in the linearized system model. Full-order and reduced-order observers are included in the control system to account for lack of velocity state measurements that are generally unavailable in real world applications.