DIGITAL AUTOPILOT FOR THE SKYLAB ORBITAL ASSEMBLY

J. F. Turnbull

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: IN PROJECT SKYLAB, the Command and Service Module which ferrys astronaut crews to and from the Orbital Workshop is required to have the capability of providing attitude control for the entire Orbital Assembly during docked phases of the mission. A digital autopilot has been designed which meets this requirement. It is a direct descendant of the digital autopilot designed fro the used extensively in project Apollo. There is a major difference however. For Apollo, it was reasonable to design an autopilot that treated the roll, pitch and yaw axes independently. Because of the geometry of the Orbital Assembly, however, it is of considerable advantage to design the jet selection logic for SKYLAB such that the roll and pitch axes are treated as coupled, and also that the roll and yaw are treated as coupled. This paper discusses how the inter-axis dependence has been incorporated in the Command and Service Module’s digital autopilot while working within the limitations of the onboard computer. A simulation example of the operation of this autopilot is also presented.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 19, Number 3
Pages: 281 - 289
Cite this article: Turnbull, J. F., "DIGITAL AUTOPILOT FOR THE SKYLAB ORBITAL ASSEMBLY", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 19, No. 3, Fall 1972, pp. 281-289.
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