Attitude dynamics of a rigid body in Keplerian motion

Roshan T. Eapen, Manoranjan Majji, Kyle T. Alfriend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper studies the attitude dynamics of a rigid body in a Keplerian orbit. We show that the use of Classical Rodrigues Parameters for the attitude motion of the rigid body subject to gravity-gradient torques enables us to characterize the equilibria associated with the rotational motion about its mass center. A parametric study of the stability of equilibria is conducted to show that large oscillations are induced due to the energy exchange between the pitch and roll–yaw motions, specifically near the 2:1 resonant commensurability regions. A visualization tool is developed to study these pitch oscillations and gain insight into the rigid body motion near internal resonance conditions. A measure of coupling between the pitching and roll–yaw motions is developed to quantify the energy exchange utilizing information from the state transition matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalCelestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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