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Attitude Control Part 1: Attitude Dynamics Part 2: Sensors and Actuators

**The content of this presentation is for educational use only
**

Royal Military College of Canada

R.F. Vincent

Part 1 Attitude Dynamics

Attitude Control

Attitude Control Design Objectives

Stabilize the spacecraft against external torques Small environmental effects that will cause the satellite to drift from its desired attitude Point housekeeping sensors in specific directions Antennas for Telemetry, Tracking and Control (TT&C) need to point at the ground station Point payload sensors in designated directions e.g. Remote sensing payloads need to point at a specific point on the surface

Need to meet sensor pointing accuracy requirements

Dependent on mission objectives

Point spacecraft in the correct direction when applying thrust for orbital changes

115r to hit a 1 km target on Earth .Pointing Accuracy Typically. and rate of attitude change Slew rate is the angular speed in rad/s that a spacecraft can change its attitude Target distance (m) h Target diameter (m) D!h Pointing accuracy (rads) ] D The requirement for spacecraft pointing depends on the subject and the sensor¶s field-of-view At 500 km altitude. a spacecraft would need a pointing accuracy of 0. attitude control requirements are stated in terms of pointing accuracy. ] .

Yaw When describing the motion of an object we use a coordinate system In the case of attitude control the motion is rotational Coordinates are determined in degrees or radians Space vehicle attitude is described in terms of roll. Pitch. pitch and yaw around the axes of the body frame .Roll.

Pitch. preferred directions through the center of mass to define the body frame .Roll. designers pick convenient. Yaw For vehicles like the Space Shuttle. a right-hand coordinate system is used: X-direction points out of the nose Y-direction points out of the left wing Z-direction completes the right-hand rule For spacecraft without a nose or wings.

Rotational Motion

Since the motion is rotational for attitude control we need to know something about the mechanics of a rotating object:

Rotational Kinematics Moment of Inertia Center of Mass Angular Momentum Torque

z-axis v R

**Rotational Kinematics - Review
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Every point on a rigid rotating object has the same angular speed, ;, but not the same tangential speed, v

R

dU ;! dt

v ! R;

;

Direction of ; is obtained using the right hand rule

Acceleration

Angular

d; E! dt

Tangential

Radial

Total Linear

at ! RE ar ! R;

2

a ! a a

2 t

2 r

**Rotational Kinematics - Review
**

Rotational Kinematic Equations:

U f ! Ui

1 2 Et ;it 2

;f ! ;

2

2 i

2E (U f Ui )

; f ! ;i Et

1 U f !Ui (; f ;i )t 2

Kinetic Energy of a Rotating Mass:

1 2 K R ! I; 2

Moment of Inertia (see next slide)

Moment of Inertia Moment of Inertia is the tendency of a body to resist angular acceleration I ! ´ r dm 2 Relatively easy to calculate for a symmetric object provided that the axis of rotation coincides with the axis of symmetry May be difficult to calculate if these conditions are not met Use the parallel-axis theorem if the axis of rotation does not coincide with the axis of symmetry See next slide .

Parallel Axis Theorem A simple way of calculating I is the parallel-axis theorem I ! I CM MD 2 Where ICM is the moment of inertia through the center of mass (CM) of the object. M is the mass of the object and D is the distance for a parallel axis from ICM See next slide for center of mass explanation .

called the center of mass (CM).y. that moves as if all of the mass of the system is concentrated at that point The center of mass is the point about which a solid will freely rotate if it is not constrained The system will move as if an external force were applied to a single particle of mass M located at the center of mass M is the total mass of the system 1 1 1 xCM ! ´ xdm yCM ! M ´ ydm zCM ! M ´ zdm M x.z coordinates of center of mass for a solid object .Center of Mass There is a special point in a system or object.

ICM for Various Objects .

Momentum Linear momentum is the p! amount of resistance an object in motion has to changes in Linear momentum speed or direction -2 (kg·m·s ) mv Velocity (m·s-1) Mass (kg) Angular momentum is H the amount of resistance a spinning object has to Angular momentum changes in spin rate or (kg·m2·s-2) direction ! I. Angular Velocity (rad·s-1) Moment of Inertia (kg·m2) Angular momentum keeps a spinning top upright .

Angular Momentum We can also describe angular momentum in terms of a cross-product H ! I . ! R v mv H is perpendicular to both R and v Can find the direction of H by using the right-hand rule Position Vector H R Spin v By imparting spin to a spacecraft we can use angular momentum to help maintain stability Higher angular momentum will have greater resistance to external torques .

Conservation of Angular Momentum The angular momentum of an isolated system remains constant in both magnitude and direction Momentum is a vector quantity H!I A man sits on a rotating stool holding out two dumbbells. What happens if he brings the dumbbells towards his body? H H Bringing in the dumbbells will decrease the moment of inertia In order for H to be conserved. the angular velocity must increase .

wheel its angular momentum is Hperson .person .person rotate with angular momentum twice that of the wheel .Conservation of Angular Momentum The sum of the angular momenta of the parts of an isolated system is constant If one part of the system is given an angular momentum in a given direction.wheel A man on a rotatable stool holds a spinning wheel What happens if the wheel is turned over? Hwheel If the wheel is turned over. heel . then some other part or parts of the system must simultaneously be given exactly the same angular momentum in the opposite direction .wheel Hperson now downward Hwheel wheel man and the stool will H The .wheel .

Torque When a force is applied to a rigid body it will rotate about the origin. The tendency of this force to cause the object to rotate is measured by torque or T Torque is a vector In this diagram the force is acting at an angle J We define the magnitude of the torque associated with the force F as: T | rF sin J .

Torque The moment arm. d. is the perpendicular distance from the axis of rotation to a line drawn along the direction of the force d = r sin moment arm T | rF sin J ! Fd .

Torque Torque facts Units are Force v Length = N·m Torque is not a force but a consequence of force and the moment arm The only component of F that causes rotation is FsinJ. which is perpendicular to the axis O The FcosJ component is parallel to the horizontal axis and has no tendency to produce a rotation .

Torque Torque as a vector product: Torque (N·m) T ! RvF Applied force (N) Distance from the center of mass to where the force is applied (m) To find the direction of torque we use the righthand rule According to this relationship. more torque can be achieved with the same force by applying the force further from the center of rotation .

it will spin faster It will experience angular acceleration ! I T! .Torque Recall that force is the time rate of change of linear momentum dp F! !p dt Similarly. angular momentum is constant If a torque is applied to a free-floating object. torque is the time rate of change of angular momentum dH T! !H dt When torque is zero.

spiral football pass. described by an angle U. Rifle bullets. E I dt Integrate dt Angular Position U An important result of the interaction between a spinning object and applied torque is gyroscopic stiffness The faster an object spins. the more stable it becomes e. we create angular acceleration which leads to a change in attitude Angular Angular Torque Spacecraft Acceleration Integrate Velocity T . we must look at how long it accelerates and how long it moves at some angular velocity By adding torque to the spacecraft.Attitude Dynamics To determine a spacecraft attitude.g. Earth .

precession may occur Rotation of the spacecraft around a precession axis Precession . the dynamics become more complicated If a torque is applied parallel to the angular momentum direction. it causes angular acceleration If a torque is applied in a direction other than parallel.Attitude Dynamics When torque is applied to a non-spinning spacecraft the results are easily predicted If a spacecraft is spinning when we apply a torque.

Attitude Dynamics When torque is applied to the spinning disk shown below it begins to precess by rotating around an axis perpendicular from both the torque and angular momentum axes Precession vector [ For a constant torque. the precession rate is constant Precession behaviour depends on the distribution of mass (I) of the spinning object Knowing how a spacecraft gains angular velocity and H . precesses helps to determine how to apply forces in order to adjust its attitude [ External Torque .

but over time they can rotate even the largest spacecraft Four main sources of disturbance torques include: Gravity gradient Solar radiation pressure Earth¶s magnetic field Atmospheric drag .Disturbance Torques Why can¶t we put a satellite in space with the desired attitude and forget about it? Environmental effects called disturbance torques drive a spacecraft from its original attitude Most of these torques are extremely small.

then the attitude control system must constantly counteract this torque .Disturbance Torques Gravity Gradient Torque Gravity Gradient Torque Results from the difference in gravitational force exerted on different parts of a spacecraft If you don¶t want the spacecraft in the orientation shown in the above example.

Disturbance Torques Solar Radiation Pressure Solar Radiation Pressure Light photons strike exposed surfaces and cause the spacecraft to rotate Momentum transfer from the photons to the spacecraft The force can be calculated as: Solar constant (1358 W/m2 at the Earth¶s orbit) Speed of light Fs F ! A s .

0 for a perfect absorber) A spacecraft with perfect reflectance and a surface area of 10 m2 would only experience about 9 v10-5 N of force Can still cause problems for spacecraft with precise pointing requirements . r cos I 1 c Angle of incidence to the Sun Illuminate surface area Reflectance (1 for a perfect reflector.

the dipole-charged spacecraft will attempt to do the same when it passes through the magnetic field Magnetic Torque . the surface of a spacecraft can develop a charge of its own. giving it a distinct dipole North and a south like a compass Just as a compass needle rotates to align with the Earth¶s magnetic field.Disturbance Torques Magnetic Torque Because of the impact of charged particles in space.

polar orbits The effect far less noticeable for large satellites in geostationary orbit Magnetic Torque .Disturbance Torques Magnetic Torque (continued) The magnitude of the magnetic torque depends on the spacecraft¶s effective magnetic dipole and the local strength of the Earth¶s magnetic field This is a significant concern for small satellites in low.

Disturbance Torques Aerodynamic Drag Aerodynamic Drag In low Earth orbit. so the attitude control system has to deal with it . drag forces on different parts of the spacecraft may also differ This creates a drag torque Spacecraft designers can do little to prevent drag torque.g. the atmosphere applies a drag force to the vehicle Velocity Drag force Fdrag 1 2 ! v CD A 2 Impacted area Atmospheric density Coefficient of drag Since parts of a spacecraft may have different drag coefficients (e. large solar panels).

Part 2 Sensors and Actuators .

Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Out of Window When pilots fly an aircraft the easiest way to determine altitude is to look out the window Ground is down. Earth Sensors 2. these sensors can accurately measure attitude in only two dimensions Only two of pitch. Sun Sensors 3. and the sky is up The same principle can be used for a spacecraft For a spacecraft there are three classes of out the window sensors 1. Star Sensors By themselves. roll and yaw Need to combine information from multiple sensors sensors to get all three dimensions .

Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Earth Sensors Earth Sensors In LEO the Earth fills a significant portion of the sky. so a sensor that can locate the Earth is at least accurate to within that amount Sensors that scan for the Earth horizon can be as much more accurate Detect EM radiation emitted by CO2 to determine the horizon Scanning Technique for an Earth horizon sensor . so a sensor would have to focus on a small portion of the Earth for greater accuracy In GEO the angular radius of the Earth is 10r.

attitude can be determined in 3-dimensions .Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Sun Sensors Finds the Sun and determines its direction with respect to the spacecraft Most widely used spacecraft attitude sensor Star Sensors Compares the pattern of stars seen by the sensor to a star catalog and uses astrometry to determine where the sensor is pointed More accurate than a Sun sensor Star and Sun Sensors By using two or more star sensors.

6 deg/sec is better than 99.5 W Company Description With a focal length of 50 mm the sensor¶s FOV is around 14°x14° which guarantees at least 10 visible stars independent of the current attitude.1 kg 9 to 18 VDC 2. . The probability of attitude acquisition at spacecraft angular rates lower than 0.7% over the full sky. After the first acquisition.Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Star Sensor Example (Vectronic Aerospace) Accuracy xy/z axis Size (Length x Width x Height) Weight Power Supply Voltage Range Power consumption 18/122 arcseconds 80 x 100 x 180 mm 1. which takes not more than 900 ms. the sensor operates with an adjustable update rate in the range from 4 Hz to 8 Hz.

Magnetometers 3. Global Positioning System (GPS) . including: 1.Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Internal Spacecraft attitude can also be determined by sensors that do not require visible references. Gyroscopes Mechanical Ring Laser Fibre Optic 2.

) will result in greater stability Higher angular momentum (H) A gyroscope will point in a fixed direction in inertial space .Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Gyroscopes Mechanical Gyroscope The simplest type of gyroscope is a spinning mass With no torque applied it will always point in the same direction in inertial space Higher moment of inertia (I) and higher angular ! I. velocity (.

a mechanical gyroscopes will precess in a predictable direction with a predictable magnitude There are two methods to measure spacecraft rotation due to external torques using a mechanical gyroscope 1.Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Gyroscopes Mechanical Gyroscope (continued) With torque applied. Mount the gyroscope directly to the spacecraft frame When the spacecraft rotates the gyroscope will precess in a predictable fashion By measuring the precession angle and rate. Isolate the gyroscope from external torques by mounting it on a gimbal Measure spacecraft rotation with respect to the stationary gyroscope 2. the system can compute the amount and direction of the spacecraft¶s rotation .

causing a shift in the interference pattern Gyroscopes Beam traveling against the rotation experiences a slightly shorter path than the other beam By measuring the frequency shift of the interference pattern. changes in the vehicle¶s orientation can be determine No moving parts Better accuracy & reliability than mechanical gyroscope . through which two laser beams shine in opposite directions As the spacecraft rotates the path lengths traveled by the beams change.Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Ring Laser Gyroscope Consists of a circular cavity containing a closed path.

Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Gyroscopes Fibre Optic Gyroscope Uses the interference of light to detect mechanical rotation Same principle as ring laser gyroscope The sensor is a coil of as much as 5 km of optical fibre Two light beams travel along the fibre in opposite directions Beam traveling against the rotation experiences a slightly shorter path than the other beam The resulting phase shift of the interference pattern indicates vehicle rotation The intensity of the combined beam indicates the rotation rate of the device .

Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Magnetometers Magnetometers A magnetometer functions as a highly accurate compass that measures the direction and strength of the local magnetic field By comparing this measurement to a model of the Earth¶s field it can determine an accurate estimation of the spacecrafts attitude Work best in LEO where the field strength is highest Need an accurate model of the Earth¶s magnetic field Offer a relatively cheap independent reference that can be compared to other sensors .

Spacecraft Attitude Sensors Global Positioning System GPS GPS is a constellation of 24 satellites in MEO that can provide position. LEO) .e. it is possible to determine attitude Accuracy limited by: Reflected signals from spacecraft Accuracy of phase measurements Antenna separation Can only receive GPS signals if you are below the constellation (i. velocity and time information By placing two GPS receivers some distance apart on a spacecraft and comparing the phase of the signals.

Example BRITE (20 ×20 × 20 cm): Attitude determination with an accuracy of 10 arcseconds for BRITE (20 ×20 × 20 cm) is made possible with a magnetometer. six sun sensors and a star tracker. .Spacecraft Attitude Sensors . The GPS is used for position information.

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Once the spacecraft attitude is determined. we need to know how to change it if required Actuators provide torque on demand to rotate a spacecraft as needed to take pictures. downlink data or meet other mission requirements Passive Actuators Gravity-gradient stabilization Spin stabilization Dampers Active Actuators Thrusters Magnetic Torquers Momentum Control Devices Require little or no input Require continuous feedback and adjustment Commonly use more than one type of actuator for attitude control .

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Gravity-Gradient Stabilization Takes advantage of the gravity-gradient disturbance discussed earlier Can exploit this free torque to keep a spacecraft oriented in a vertical orientation Cheap and simple Passive Pitch and roll only (no yaw) Limited accuracy depending on spacecraft¶s mass distribution (s 5r) LEO only Example: GeoSat Radar Altimeter Launched in 1985 to measure sea surface height Used gravity gradient to keep radar altimeter pointing at the Earth .

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Passive Spin Stabilization Takes advantage of angular momentum to maintain a constant inertial orientation of one of its axes Spin stabilization isn¶t useful for Earth pointing missions since they will not point at the Earth for part of the orbit .

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Spin Stabilization Examples Passive Explorer 6 (1959) Designed to study trapped radiation Spin stabilized at 168 rpm Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) GOES 1 to 7 (1975 to 1987) were spin stabilized at 100 RPM Visible and Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer used the spin of the satellite to scan the Earth .

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Passive Dual-Spin Stabilization One way to avoid Earth-pointing limitations of spin stabilization is to use a dual-spin system Combines the gyroscopic stiffness of a spinning outer section with a de-spun inner section that can point independently at the Earth .

2002) Dual Spin Stabilization Geostationary orbit. but at a much slower rate than the outer section This allows for antenna and sensor pointing Inherently complex system.Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Passive Dual-Spin Stabilization (continued) The de-spun inner section does actually spin. but is still a common control option for large GEO communications satellites Anik-C Series (1983 . providing pay television to Canada .

slowing its rotation Dampers are used to take unwanted wobbles in the spin axis Normally used in conjunction with other types of attitude actuators .Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Passive Dampers A damper is a device that changes angular momentum by absorbing energy Uses friction or other means to convert momentum energy into other forms A simple damper consists of a ball in a circular tube filled with a viscous fluid As the spacecraft rotates. some of its momentum is converted to heat through the friction of the ball in the tube.

we can produce torque By varying thruster power. the satellite can be rotated in any direction Placing the thrusters as far from the satellite¶s center of mass as possible allows them to exert a greater torque Can produce well-defined torque on demand allowing a spacecraft to slew quickly from one attitude to another Amount of propellant limits their use .Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Active Thrusters Thrusters are rockets that rotate the spacecraft By applying a balanced force with a pair of rockets on opposite sides of a spacecraft.

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Active Magnetic Torquers Takes advantage of naturally occurring magnetic torques due to the Earth¶s magnetic field The onboard system switches electromagnets on and off as needed The electromagnet aligns with the Earth¶s magnetic field. not propellant Less useful in orbits higher than LEO . dragging the spacecraft with it Important secondary means of attitude control for satellites in highly inclined LEO Cheap and simple Use electrical power.

Therefore length.Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Magnetic Torquer Example (Vectronic Aerospace) Magnetic Dipole Moment Size (Length x Width x Height) Weight Power Supply Voltage Range Power consumption 5 to 100 Am2 282 x 43 x 51 mm 750 g 9 to 14 V 0. . position and mounting of the internal electronics and the electrical specifications have to be adaptable.5 to 6 W Active Company Description The detailed mechanical design generally depends on the geometrical properties and requirements of the respective project. Static mode uses only magnetization of the rod for a weaker magnetic field and current mode uses a constant current for a strong magnetic field.

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Active Momentum-Control Devices Vary the angular momentum of small rotating masses within a space craft to change its attitude Utilize conservation of angular momentum Small mass with a high spin rate has the same angular velocity as a large mass with a slow spin rate !I Since the spinning mass is a small fraction of the spacecraft's total mass. easily-measurable changes in its speed provide very precise changes in angle Three types of momentum-control devices: Biased momentum systems Zero-biased systems Control-moment gyroscopes .

they give the spacecraft a large angular momentum vector Similar to spin-stabilization. except instead of spinning the whole spacecraft only a small wheel inside the spacecraft is spun to achieve the same effect Achieves spin stabilization without spinning the spacecraft .Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Biased momentum systems Active Simplest type of momentum-control device Uses one or two spinning momentum wheels Because the wheels are always rapidly spinning.

or to absorb a disturbance torque. limited operational lifetime . expensive.Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Active Zero-biased systems Includes three independent reaction wheels at right angles to each other with little or no initial momentum When the spacecraft needs to rotate to a new attitude. the system spins one or more of these wheels Provides precise attitude control and is the primary choice for satellites requiring accurate pointing Complex.

the reaction wheel is spun up in the opposite direction .Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Reaction Wheels The total angular momentum of a spacecraft system is the sum of the spacecraft¶s momentum plus the momentum of each reaction wheel In this simple single-axis example we start with a nonrotating spacecraft that has zero angular momentum To rotate the spacecraft in one direction.

wheel drive electronics and housing. rotor. By changing the rotor geometry.12 v10-3 kgm2 20 mNm Active Company Description The ratio between acceleration of the wheel and the spacecraft is equal to the ratio of their moments of inertia.8 kg 6 to 25 W 2.Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Reaction Wheel Example (Vectronic Aerospace) Nominal Speed Size (Length x Width x Height) Weight Power consumption Moment of Inertia Available Torque 5000 RPM 115 x 115 x 86 mm 1. input voltage range or communication protocol. . the characteristics are easy to adapt to customer needs. The reaction wheel RW1 comprises the following components: brushless DC Motor.

but offer higher skew rates Effective on large platforms . the spacecraft will rotate in the opposite direction to compensate Provide pointing accuracy equivalent to reaction wheels.Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Control-moment gyroscopes Active Consists of three or more spinning reaction wheels. each mounted on gimbals that allow them to rotate freely in all directions Momentum is changed by changing the magnitude and direction of the spinning wheels Since the angular momentum of the system must be conserved.

3-Axis Stabilization RADARSAT-2 Attitude Determination: Sun sensors. 3-axis gyros. BRITE (20 × 20 × 20) uses 3 orthogonal reaction wheels and 3 orthogonal magnetorquer coils for three-axis attitude control and momentum dumping . magnetic torquers CAN-X Generic Nanosatellite Bus Miniaturized components allow precise attitude determination and control. star trackers Attitude Control: 3-axis stabilization (reaction wheels).

Spacecraft Attitude Actuators Momentum Dumping A limitation of all momentum-control devices is that there is a practical limit to how fast a given wheel can spin During operation. these systems must gradually spin faster and faster to rotate the spacecraft and absorb disturbance torques Wheels become saturated Momentum dumping is a technique for decreasing the angular momentum of the wheel by applying a controlled torque to the spacecraft Spacecraft needs an independent way of applying an external torque Magnetic torquers and/or thrusters are normally used for momentum dumping .

Comparison Attitude Control Methods and their Capabilities .

The Controller The controller generates commands for the actuators to make the spacecraft point in the right direction based on mission requirements for accuracy and slew rate To use the information from sensors and continuously adjust actuator commands. the controller has to keep track of: What is happening now What may happen in the future What happened in the past The controller combines its memory with its current measurements and ability to predict future behaviour to decide how to command the actuators .

(U Controller then calculates how much torque to add in a steady-state mode to compensate for disturbance torques Used when highly accurate pointing is desired .The Controller Derivative Control Sensors determines current attitude and compares it to desired attitude The difference between the measured and desired attitude is the error signal The controller then sends a message to the actuators to correct to the desired attitude Knowing the rate of change of attitude allows more accurate slewing Integral Control Controller considers the change in angular difference over time.

The Controller Derivative Control System input: desired attitude Disturbance Torques Commands Error Actuators Torques Spacecraft Controller Signal Measured attitude Sensors Physical output: the current attitude .

Vincent .F.Attitude Control Part 1: Attitude Dynamics Part 2: Sensors and Actuators Royal Military College of Canada R.

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