Event-triggered attitude tracking for rigid spacecraft


This study aims to investigate the problem of attitude control for a spacecraft with inertial uncertainties, external disturbances, and communication restrictions. An event-triggered active disturbance rejection control approach is proposed for attitude tracking of the spacecraft. An event-triggered mechanism is introduced together with an extended state observer to jointly monitor the system states and total disturbances. The observation error is proved to be uniformly bounded. Based on the proposed control scheme, the integrated tracking system is shown to be asymptotically stable, implying successful attitude tracking of the spacecraft for the desired motion. Numerical results illustrate the effectiveness of the control strategy in achieving satisfactory tracking performance with a reduced data-transmission cost.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1

    Sidi M J. Spacecraft Dynamics and Control. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2000

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Crouch P. Spacecraft attitude control and stabilization: applications of geometric control theory to rigid body models. IEEE Trans Autom Control, 1984, 29: 321–331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Wang N, Zhang T W, Xu J Q. Formation control for networked spacecraft in deep space: with or without communication delays and with switching topology. Sci China Inf Sci, 2011, 54: 469–481

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Jin Y Q, Liu X D, Qiu W, et al. Time-varying sliding mode control for a class of uncertain MIMO nonlinear system subject to control input constraint. Sci China Inf Sci, 2010, 53: 89–100

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Pukdeboon C. Extended state observer-based third-order sliding mode finite-time attitude tracking controller for rigid spacecraft. Sci China Inf Sci, 2019, 62: 012206

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Pukdeboon C, Zinober A S I, Thein M W L. Quasi-continuous higher order sliding-mode controllers for spacecraft-attitude-tracking maneuvers. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2010, 57: 1436–1444

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Xia Y Q, Zhu Z, Fu M Y, et al. Attitude tracking of rigid spacecraft with bounded disturbances. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2011, 58: 647–659

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Li Z K, Duan Z S. Distributed adaptive attitude synchronization of multiple spacecraft. Sci China Technol Sci, 2011, 54: 1992–1998

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Chen Z Y, Huang J. Attitude tracking and disturbance rejection of rigid spacecraft by adaptive control. IEEE Trans Autom Control, 2009, 54: 600–605

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Luo W C, Chu Y C, Ling K V. Inverse optimal adaptive control for attitude tracking of spacecraft. IEEE Trans Autom Control, 2005, 50: 1639–1654

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Åström K J, Bo B. Comparison of periodic and event based sampling for first order stochastic systems. In: Proceedings of IFAC World Congress, Beijing, 1999. 5006–5011

  12. 12

    Postoyan R, Bragagnolo M C, Galbrun E, et al. Event-triggered tracking control of unicycle mobile robots. Automatica, 2015, 52: 302–308

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    He N, Shi D W. Event-based robust sampled-data model predictive control: a non-monotonic Lyapunov function approach. IEEE Trans Circ Syst I, 2015, 62: 2555–2564

    MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Huang N, Duan Z S, Zhao Y. Distributed consensus for multiple Euler-Lagrange systems: an event-triggered approach. Sci China Technol Sci, 2016, 59: 33–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Yu Y G, Zeng Z W, Li Z K, et al. Event-triggered encirclement control of multi-agent systems with bearing rigidity. Sci China Inf Sci, 2017, 60: 110203

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Sun S, Yang M F, Wang L. Event-triggered nonlinear attitude control for a rigid spacecraft. In: Proceedings of the 36th Chinese Control Conference, 2017. 7582–7586

  17. 17

    Xing L T, Wen C Y, Liu Z T, et al. An event-triggered design scheme for spacecraft attitude control. In: Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications, 2017. 1552–1557

  18. 18

    Wu B L, Shen Q, Cao X B. Event-triggered attitude control of spacecraft. Adv Space Res, 2018, 61: 927–934

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Zhang C X, Wang J H, Zhang D X, et al. Learning observer based and event-triggered control to spacecraft against actuator faults. Aerosp Sci Tech, 2018, 78: 522–530

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Han J Q. From PID to active disturbance rejection control. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2009, 56: 900–906

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Zheng Q, Gao Z Q. On practical applications of active disturbance rejection control. In: Proceedings of the 29th Chinese Control Conference, 2010. 6095–6100

  22. 22

    Guo B Z, Wu Z H, Zhou H C. Active disturbance rejection control approach to output-feedback stabilization of a class of uncertain nonlinear systems subject to stochastic disturbance. IEEE Trans Autom Control, 2016, 61: 1613–1618

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Li S L, Yang X, Yang D. Active disturbance rejection control for high pointing accuracy and rotation speed. Automatica, 2009, 45: 1854–1860

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Sira-Ramírez H, Linares-Flores J, García-Rodríguez C, et al. On the control of the permanent magnet synchronous motor: an active disturbance rejection control approach. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2014, 22: 2056–2063

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Tang S, Yang Q H, Qian S K, et al. Height and attitude active disturbance rejection controller design of a small-scale helicopter. Sci China Inf Sci, 2015, 58: 032202

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Chen S, Xue W C, Zhong S, et al. On comparison of modified ADRCs for nonlinear uncertain systems with time delay. Sci China Inf Sci, 2018, 61: 070223

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Huang Y, Wang J Z, Shi D W, et al. Toward event-triggered extended state observer. IEEE Trans Autom Control, 2018, 63: 1842–1849

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Shi D W, Xue J, Zhao L X, et al. Event-triggered active disturbance rejection control of DC torque motors. IEEE/ASME Trans Mechatron, 2017, 22: 2277–2287

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Yuan J S. Closed-loop manipulator control using quaternion feedback. IEEE J Robot Autom, 1988, 4: 434–440

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Lu K F, Xia Y Q, Fu M Y. Controller design for rigid spacecraft attitude tracking with actuator saturation. Inf Sci, 2013, 220: 343–366

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31

    Yang H J, You X, Xia Y Q, et al. Adaptive control for attitude synchronisation of spacecraft formation via extended state observer. IET Control Theory Appl, 2014, 8: 2171–2185

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Guo B Z, Zhao Z L. On convergence of nonlinear active disturbance rejection for SISO systems. In: Proceedings of the 24th Chinese Control and Decision Conference, 2012. 3507–3512

  33. 33

    Bai W Y, Xue W C, Huang Y, et al. On extended state based Kalman filter design for a class of nonlinear time-varying uncertain systems. Sci China Inf Sci, 2018, 61: 042201

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Li B, Hu Q L, Ma G F. Extended state observer based robust attitude control of spacecraft with input saturation. Aerospace Sci Tech, 2016, 50: 173–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35

    Li B, Hu Q L, Yu Y B, et al. Observer-based fault-tolerant attitude control for rigid spacecraft. IEEE Trans Aerosp Electron Syst, 2017, 53: 2572–2582

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36

    Cai D H, Zou H G, Wang J Z, et al. Supplementary discussions on “event-triggered attitude tracking for rigid spacecraft”. 2019. http://www.escience.cn/people/dshi/

  37. 37

    Khalil H K. Nonlinear Systems. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall 2002

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38

    Li P, Yue X K, Chi X B, et al. Optimal relative attitude tracking control for spacecraft proximity operation. In: Proceedings of the 25th Chinese Control and Decision Conference, 2013

Download references


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61503027, 51675041). The authors would like to thank the associate editor and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions which have improved the quality of the work.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dawei Shi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cai, D., Zou, H., Wang, J. et al. Event-triggered attitude tracking for rigid spacecraft. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 62, 222202 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-018-9844-3

Download citation


  • spacecraft
  • attitude tracking
  • active disturbance rejection control
  • event-triggered control
  • extended state observer