Passive Attitude Control Torque Generation Performances of a Gravity Gradient Stabilized Satellite


Article Preview

In this paper, the Proportional-Derivative (PD) based attitude control algorithm of the gravity gradient stabilized satellite has been developed. The satellite is equipped with 3 magnetic torquers where each of the magnetic torquer is placed along the +x, +y, +z axes. The control torque is generated when the magnetic field generated by the magnetic torquers couples with the geomagnetic fields, whereby the vector of the generated torque is perpendicular to both the magnetic fields. The developed control algorithm was simulated using the complex and simplified geomagnetic field models for a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite mission in a nominal attitude operation. Results from simulations exhibit the effectiveness of the attitude control torque generation that fulfills the mission attitude control requirements.



Main Theme:

Edited by:

R. Varatharajoo, E. J. Abdullah, D. L. Majid, F. I. Romli, A. S. Mohd Rafie and K. A. Ahmad




N. M. Suhadis and R. Varatharajoo, "Passive Attitude Control Torque Generation Performances of a Gravity Gradient Stabilized Satellite", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vol. 225, pp. 458-463, 2012

Online since:

November 2012




[1] M.J. Sidi, Spacecraft Dynamics and Control, Cambridge University Press, (1997).

[2] K. Maeda, T. Hidaka, M. Uo, A magnetic libration control scheme for gravity-gradient stabilized satellite, Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 96(6), (1997) p.887 – 896.

[3] N. Mohd Suhadis, R. Varatharajoo, Satellite Attitude Performance during the Momentum dumping Mode, International Review of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 3(2), (2009) pp.133-138.

[4] Z. Sun, Y. Cheng, Y. Geng, and X. Cao, The Active Magnetic Control Algorithm for HITSAT-1, Journal of Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 72, No. 2, (2000) p.137 – 141.


[5] R. Wisnieskiand M. Blanke, Fully Magnetic Attitude Control for Spacecraft Subject to Gravity Gradient, Automatica, Vol. 35, (1999) pp.1201-1214.


[6] C. Arduini and P. Baiocco, Active Magnetic Damping Attitude Control for Gravity Gradient Stabilized Spacecraft, Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, Vol. 20, No. 1, (1997) pp.117-122.


[7] M. Lovera, E. Marchi, and S. Bittanti, Periodic attitude control techniques for small satellites with magnetic actuators, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, Vol. 10(1), (2002) p.90 – 95.


[8] N. Mohd Suhadis, R. Varatharajoo, Comparison Study on Low Cost Satellite Magnetic Attitude Control Options, International Review of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 3(3), (2010) pp.157-161.

[9] E. Silani, and M. Lovera, Magnetic spacecraft attitude control: a survey and some new results. Control Engineering Practice, 13(3), (2005) 357 – 371.


[10] Y. Cao, and W. Chen, Automatic differentiation based nonlinear model predictive control of satellites using magnetic-torquers, Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications, ICIEA, Xi'an, China, (2009) p.913 – 918.


[11] F. Martel and K.P. Parimal and M. Psiaki, Active Magnetic Control System for Gravity Gradient Stabilized Spacecraft, Annual AIAA/Utah State University Conference on Small Satellite, (1988) pp.1-19.

[12] J.R. Wertz, Spacecraft attitude determination and control. Kluwer Academic Publishers, (1978).

[13] M.L. Psiaki, Magnetic Torquer Attitude Control via Asymptotic Periodic Linear Quadratic Regulation, Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, Vol. 24(2), (2001) pp.386-394.