Guidance Strategies for Planetary Landing

The purpose of this course is to develop theoretical and applied skills in optimization and control for spacecraft guidance.

This video introduces two analytical guidance laws for planetary landing. The simple solutions are made possible by numerous simplifying assumptions such as constant gravity, negligible aerodynamic forces, unimportant mass dynamics, and unbounded control. The notes and video are based on papers by Chris D’Souza in 1997 and Ping Lu in 2020.


This video introduces a computational approach to planetary landing based on convex optimization. The analysis is based on the 2007 paper by Acikmese and Ploen published in the Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics titled “Convex Programming Approach to Powered Descent Guidance for Mars Landing.” After analyzing the problem with an upper bound on thrust magnitude, a relaxation approach is proposed to solve the problem with lower and upper bounds on thrust.

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