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An MPC Approach to Transient Control of Liquid-Propellant Rocket Engines

  • Pérez-Roca, Sergio
  • Marzat, Julien
  • Flayac, Émilien
  • Piet-Lahanier, Hélène
  • Langlois, Nicolas
  • Farago, François
  • Galeotta, Marco
  • Le Gonidec, Serge
Publication Date
Aug 27, 2019
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The current context of launchers reusability requires the improvement of control algorithms for their liquid-propellant rocket engines. Their transient phases are generally still performed in open loop. In this paper, it is aimed at enhancing the control performance and robustness during the fully continuous phase of the start-up transient of a generic gas-generator cycle. The main control goals concern end-state tracking in terms of combustion-chamber pressure and chambers mixture ratios, as well as the verification of a set of hard operational constraints. A controller based on a nonlinear preprocessor and on linear MPC (Model-Predictive Control) has been synthesised, making use of nonlinear state-space models of the engine. The former generates the full-state reference to be tracked while the latter achieves the aforementioned goals with sufficient accuracy and verifying constraints for the required pressure levels. Robustness considerations are included in the MPC algorithm via an epigraph formulation of the minimax robust optimisation problem, where a finite set of perturbation scenarios is considered.

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