Design, Modelling and Control of a Space UAV for Mars Exploration
Abstract: Mars : The red planet has been on top in the priority list of interplanetary exploration of the solar system. The Mars exploration landers and rovers have laid the foundation of our understanding of the planet atmosphere and terrain. Although the rovers have been a great help, they also have limitations in terms of their speed and exploration capabilities from the ground. Throughout the whole mission period the rover is limited to travel for couple of Kilometers, and the lack of terrain data in real time also limits the path planning of the exploration rovers. It would be beneficial in terms of extended range of operation to have a secondary system that can fly ahead of the rover and provide it with pre-mapped terrain so that the rover can select the optimal site to perform scientific experiments. The INGENUITY Mars helicopter is designed to test the technical demonstration of aerial flight in the thin atmosphere of Mars. This project will use some of the research and developments done for the ingenuity helicopter and aims to simplify the rotor craft's design by adding more rotors and getting rid of the variable pitch control used in ingenuity helicopter. In this thesis we have proposed a multi rotor UAV that is developed for powered flight in the Mars atmosphere. This thesis will give insights about the constraints and solutions to allow an autonomous UAV to fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars. The thesis will focus on the selection of the optimal airfoil for low Reynolds number flow on Mars, its aerodynamics which will be followed by flow simulations in CFD software to extract thrust parameters for the UAV. The later half of the thesis project will be primarily focused on designing a low level controller for the UAV to execute some basic commands like hold position, do roll,pitch and yaw movements and following a specific path. From the control prospective the scope of this master thesis is to make a mathematical model of the Mars UAV and design a PID controller for the vehicle. The project will conclude the simulations and control response from the PID controller and as a future work an LQR and MPC can be developed for the Mars UAV.
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