Nonlinear control design for energy sink simulation in the Euler-Poinsot problem

Daniel C. Kammer, Gary L. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A nonlinear control design is presented for the purpose of quantitatively simulating the effects of internal damping mechanisms modeled as energy sinks on the attitude dynamics of rigid body spacecraft. Damping is important because it is often the driving mechanism behind passive attitude acquisition maneuvers. Introduction of the controller into the Euler attitude equations of motion allows for the explicit representation of damping without the introduction of additional degrees of freedom required for a physical damping mechanism. This result is significant because perturbation techniques which rely on the closed form solution of the unperturbed problem can then be used to analyze the effects of perturbations upon a damped system. The controller is designed to dissipate kinetic energy while maintaining the magnitude of the angular momentum vector. Control torques are nonlinear functions of the angular momentum components expressed in a body-fixed frame. A numerical simulation of an actual damping mechanism during a decay from minor axis spin into a flat spin is presented showing that the nonlinear controller gives a good qualitative representation and, in many instances, a good quantitative approximation of the attitude motion of a representative spacecraft containing a damping mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Astronautical Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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