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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 1572726, 12 pages
Research Article

Optimal Control Scheme of the Tethered System for Orbital Transfer under a Constant Thrust

Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Guowei Zhao; nc.ude.aaub@iewougoahz

Received 10 October 2017; Revised 2 February 2018; Accepted 14 February 2018; Published 8 April 2018

Academic Editor: Mahmut Reyhanoglu

Copyright © 2018 Liang Sun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The tethered system with a long tether has its unique advantages in space environment exploration. With the development of requirement, the orbital transfer of the tethered system under a constant thrust and its related optimal control become significant and challenging. Three different optimal control schemes of the tethered system are proposed, including the tension control, the thrust vector control, and the mixed control. In the tension control, in order to ensure the smoothness of pendular motion of the tethered system, different cost functions are adopted and compared. In the thrust vector control, the constraint of thrust direction angle is fully considered. In the mixed control, equivalent conditions to other control schemes are investigated. The advantages and disadvantages of three optimal control schemes are compared and analyzed, which provides a reference for research on the optimal control problem of the tethered system under a constant thrust.