Stability of Satellite Attitude in a Central Force Field

  • F. P. J. Rimrott
Part of the Mechanical Engineering Series book series (MES)


The subsequent stability analyses are for absolutely rigid satellites of finite size in the gravitational field of a point master. The term gravity gradient stabilization (or GG stabilization) is used frequently by space engineers for satellites stabilized by taking advantage of the gradient of the gravitational field surrounding the master, the gradient of the field being none other than the Kepler force K, which, because of the finite size of the satellite, also exerts a torque on the satellite.


Circular Orbit Satellite Attitude Absolute Angular Velocity Angular Velocity Component Cardan Angle 
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Suggested Reading

  1. 1.
    Hughes, P.C. Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics, Wiley & Sons, 1985, 576 pp.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kane, T.R.; E.L. Marsh; W.G. Wilson. “Letters to the Editor,” Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, 108–109.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Magnus, K. “Die Stabilität partikulärer Drehbewegungen von Satelliten beliebiger Form auf einer Kreisbahn,” Ingenieur-Archiv, 34, 1965, 129–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Thomson, W.T. “Spin Stabilization of Attitude against Gravity Torque,” Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, 9, 1, 1962, 31–33.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tyc, G. “A Method of Stability Analysis for Systems of Linear Differential Equations with Periodic Coefficients,” M.A.S.c. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1987, 164 pp.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wittenburg, J. Dynamics of Systems of Rigid Bodies, B.G. Teubner, 1977, 224 pp.MATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zlatoustov, V.A.; D.E. Okhotsimsky; V.A. Sarychev; A.P. Torzhevsky. “Investigation of Satellite Oscillations in the Plane of an Elliptic Orbit,” Proceedings (Ed. H. Görtier), 11th International Congress of Applied Mechanics, Munich, 1964, Springer-Verlag, 1966, 436–439.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. P. J. Rimrott
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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