The Flight Dynamics and Control Group consists of the research groups of Professor Kenneth Mease and Professor Haithem Taha. Both atmospheric flight and spaceflight are studied.
Projects include guidance for hypersonic re-entry vehicles, precision landing current for Mars landers, time scale analysis of nonlinear systems, and air traffic control.
Projects led by Professor Taha include developing reduced order models for unsteady nonlinear aerodynamics, applying tools from geometric nonlinear control theory and averaging to uncover unconventional force generation and stabilization mechanisms, and assessing the effect of aerodynamic-dynamic interaction on balance and stability of flying vehicles. Flapping-wing micro-air-vehicles represent one interesting application.
Future missions to Mars will require precise landing capability. We are working in collaboration with engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop guidance technology to enable precision landing.
The project objective is to develop a methodology for the analysis and design of nonlinear dynamical systems that have an underlying multiple time-scale structure. Finite-time Lyapunov exponents and vectors provide the timescale information, and are used to determine the manifold structure of the flow in the state space.
Strategic air traffic management involves decision-making with a 2-8 hour horizon. Ground delays and re-routing are the controls used to minimize arrival delays while respecting air space capacity constraints. We are using an aggregate modeling approach for this optimization problem.