Rocket Roll Dynamics and Disturbance – Minimal modelling and system identification
The roll dynamics of a 5kg, 1.3 m high sounding rocket are analyzed in a vertical wind tunnel. Significant turbulence in the tunnel makes the system identification of the effective inertia, damping and asymmetry with respect to roll challenging. A novel method is developed which decouples the disturbance from the rocket frame’s intrinsic roll dynamics and allows accurate prediction of roll rate and angle. The parameter identification method is integral-based, and treats wind disturbances as equivalent to a movement in the actuator fins. The method is robust, requires minimal computation, and gave a realistic disturbance distribution reflecting the randomness of the turbulent wind flow. The mean absolute roll rate of the rocket frame observed in experiments was 16.4 degree/s and the model predicted the roll rate with a median error of 0.51 degrees/s with a 90th percentile of 1.25 degrees/s. The roll angle (measured by an encoder), was tracked by the model with a median absolute error of 0.25 degrees and a 90th percentile of 0.50 degrees. These results prove the concept of this minimal modeling approach which will be extended to pitch and yaw dynamics in the future.