Asteroid precision landing via multiple sliding surfaces guidance techniques

Roberto Furfaro, Dario Cersosimo, Daniel R. Wibben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Autonomous close-proximity operations (hovering, landing) in the low-gravity environment exhibited by asteroids are particularly challenging. A novel nonlinear landing guidance scheme has been developed for spacecraft that are required to execute autonomous closed-loop guidance to a designated point on the asteroid surface. Based on highorder sliding-mode control theory, the proposed multiple sliding surface guidance algorithm has been designed to take advantage of the ability of the system to reach the sliding surface in a finite time. High control activity typical of sliding control design is avoided, resulting in a guidance law that is robust against unmodeled yet bounded perturbations. The proposed multiple sliding surface guidance does not require any off-line trajectory generation, and therefore it is flexible enough to target a large variety of points on the surface without the need of ground-based trajectory analysis. The global stability of the proposed guidance algorithm is proven using a Lyapunov-based approach. The behavior of the multiple sliding surface guidance-based feedback asteroid landing trajectories is investigated via a parametric analysis, and a full set of Monte Carlo simulations in realistic landing scenarios is implemented to evaluate the guidance performance. Based on such results, the multiple sliding surface guidance algorithm is demonstrated to be very accurate and flexible, and it has the potential to be implemented as real-time guidance during asteroid landing and possibly for close-proximity operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1092
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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