Franklin E. Caldwell II

Major and Classification

Astronautical Engineering

Faculty Mentor

Joseph Kunc, Ph.D.


Viterbi School of Engineering

McNair Project

“The Lunar Entry and Approach Platform For Research On Ground (LEAPFROG) GNC Simulation Comparison”

Project Abstract

The Lunar Entry and Approach Platform For Research On Ground (LEAPFROG) lunar lander guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) subsystem is based on simulations of developed hovering aircraft. The initial (“Generation 0”) simulation is a very complex subsystem, and is being modified for the intermediate version (Modified “Generation 0”). We hypothesized that the modified GNC subsystem simulation will provide LEAPFROG with a faster and more accurate simulation for implementation of the appropriate control loops and guidance algorithms for safe hold hover, and mission flight profiles, provided by the attitude control propulsion and avionics subsystems. Multiple simulation blocks of the Simulink® code were modified, in addition to changing the solver method, to produce different outputs that display how the simulation calculates the attitude (roll, pitch, and yaw angles) of the lunar lander during a sixty-second flight. The simulation time was reduced by 40% to four minutes due to removing the animation blocks of the code. The primary cause of a change in output data was from changing the solver method for the modified simulation. This new, updated, cleaner, and faster simulation is important for future research and work on LEAPFROG to ultimately create the Generation X model that would be capable of carrying a payload and landing on terrain. Additionally, the new version will have improved flight capabilities than the older models of the past decade.