Skip to content

Space Dynamics and control: the embedded model control approach

The book ‘Spacecraft Dynamics and Control: The Embedded Model Control Approach’ provides a uniform and hands-on approach to space engineering control problems. Published in March 2018, it introduces the Embedded Model Control methodology for the design and implementation of attitude and orbit control systems.

Interview with Luca Massotti, Spacecraft Design Engineer and book co-author, about the book and its contributions to the scientific conversation.

Luca Massotti received the Laurea degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino (Turin, I), in 2000, and the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Aeronautical and Space Department of the Politecnico di Torino (Turin, I), in 2004. He is currently a consultant at the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation Programmes Directorate – Future Missions division, where he has worked since 2007. He is the author of co-author of more than 80 scientific publications in international journals, conference proceedings and articles on books.

How does the book contribute to this scientific conversation?

The idea is to give a holistic view of not-so-typical scientific mission design for Earth Observation. The book starts with an extensive introduction to algebra fundamentals and kinematics to later address the state-space dynamics and the EMC approach.

To do so, we define the uncertainties and their classification, the definition of the model errors, with typical design of noise estimators and the state predictors, and – of course – with examples of control laws. All of this accompanied with chapters covering the modelling of the environmental disturbances, orbital mechanics and control, attitude determination problems, and a state-of-art overview on sensors and actuators, from their mathematical formalism to commonly used products.

How do you think researchers and practitioners can benefit from this book in their daily practice?

The book provides a comprehensive view of a challenging space mission design. The existent literature focused mostly on the control theory. It misses a link with the day-by-day work of a space engineer. Our book includes numerous exercises throughout the different chapters for better understanding, training, and hands-on application.

How was your experience writing this book?

It was an exciting experience. The project started in Fall 2016, and since we have dedicated many nights and weekends to writing and reviewing the manuscript. Luckily Prof. Enrico Canuto, the book captain, is a very experienced professor who could guide us through all the steps, also putting the right pressure.