Arthur Palosz

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Yuri Shtessel

Committee Member

John D. Williams

Committee Member

Richard L. Fork


Space debris., Sliding mode control., Lasers in aeronautics., Lasers--Scientific applications.


This thesis explores the use of a space-based laser to clean up small orbital debris from near Earth space. This system's challenge is to quickly and precisely aim the laser beam at very small (<1cm) and distant (<10km) moving orbital debris in the presence of parametric uncertainties and external disturbances. A mathematical model is derived for the debris position sensors, a Fast Steering Mirror (FSM), and a telescope which are used to track the orbital debris and then point and focus the laser beam onto the orbital debris. A Kalman Filter (KF) is designed to accurately track the orbital debris and generate a command signal for the controller. A second order Super Twisting Sliding Mode Controller (2-SMC) is designed to follow the command signal generated by the KF and to overcome the parametric uncertainties and external disturbances. The performance of the system is validated with a computer simulation created in MATLAB and Simulink.



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