wiki/ ActiveGuidance

Active Guidance Information

Here's some of the things we've found on active guidance systems (AGS) for sounding rockets.

Note that there seems to be a division of labor in current sounding rocket active guidance systems:

  1. Usually, there's a main propulsion guidance system that uses fins, or canards, or thrust vector control (TVS) on the main engine. The purpose of this system seems to be to get the rocket off the ground following the desired trajectory... e.g., for the Black Brant, they mention that they would like to launch during high wind speeds. So this primary AGS seems to "put the rocket on course" but do nothing for attitude or precision pointing (necessary for most astronomy payloads).
  2. Then on sounding rockets with a lot of spin, there's a "de-spin" device. Usually it's a pair of masses on a cord which reels out during the 0g section of flight and de-spins the device down to some small rotational rate.
  3. Finally, there's a small Attitude Control System (ACS) which usually uses gyros and possibly a star sensor to do precision pointing using cold gas jets.

Here are some links: