Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Bradley Burchett

Second Advisor

Daniel Kawano

Third Advisor

Ronald Artigue


An important aspect of controls engineering is the dynamic modeling and flight control of smart weapons. One division of this area involves the guidance, navigation, and control of smart projectiles. In recent decades, methods for controlling projectiles have become much more sophisticated. In this thesis, principles of optimal control are used to develop a controller for indirect fire symmetric projectiles, or high-launch projectiles. A plant model is created to simulate the flight of a 2.75-inch Hydra-70 rocket. Two pairs of forward-mounted controllable canards are used as actuators to modify the flight toward a downrange target. A linear optimal regulator is used to compute control inputs which minimize a cost function. Results are demonstrated through impact point dispersion plots which show both the effectiveness and robustness of the controller. Additionally, defining characteristics of the control method are explored and optimized.


To my parents, who have been outstanding role models and have provided unwavering support throughout my life. To my sister, who has always been a best friend to me. To the entire faculty and staff of the Rose-Hulman Mechanical Engineering department. You have created an environment which enables students to maximize their potential. And to Caitlin, who has handled the last six years with grace and understanding. Your support means everything to me.