Flight Control for a Manned Orbital Space Station 650594
This paper discusses the factors influencing the design of a flight control system for a 0 g space station.* The control system is shown to be “sized,” in terms of required impulse capacity, by the long-term effects of gravity gradient and aerodynamic disturbances. The reaction control propellant required to counteract these disturbances is minimized by selection of attitude orientations which reduce external torques, and by using momentum storage devices to counteract act cyclic disturbances. A number of momentum storage system configurations, using various combinations of inertia wheels and control moment gyros, are discussed for this purpose.
The control requirements imposed by a typical experimental program are described. Interfaces between experiments and the space station vary from cases with no mutual impact to those involving complete integration of experiment, navigation system, and control system. In the extreme cases, gimballing of the experimental package is required to isolate its pointing axis from the motion of the space station. This is generally due to the station's limited response to transient disturbances, such as those caused by crew motion, or to the impracticality of slewing the station to follow a required attitude profile.
Examples of experimental mechanization with a space station control system include an earth surface tracking device, a horizon spectrometry experiment, and an astronomical telescope. Points of feasibility and marginality are discussed.