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A quasi-inertial attitude mode for orbiting spacecraft.A method is presented for achieving quasi-inertial orientation of an orbiting spacecraft with minimal control effort. Spacecraft motion is a small-amplitude oscillation about the orbit normal with one principal axis held in the orbital plane. The nominal orientation of this axis is arbitrary, so that any spacecraft axis normal to it may be pointed arbitrarily on the celestial sphere and remain within a small neighborhood of the nominal orientation. Oscillation amplitude can be chosen to minimize control requirements for maintaining the mode and may range up to 18.8 deg depending on spacecraft inertia. The quasi-inertial mode would be an efficient means for maintaining a nominal solar orientation for NASA's Skylab configuration if the control-moment-gyros fail in the primary attitude control system. This approach, which utilizes the backup reaction thrust system, affords a substantial reduction in propellant requirements compared to that for a true solar inertial attitude hold.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Elrod, B. D.
(Mitre Corp. McLean, Va., United States)
Date Acquired
August 7, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1972
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Volume: 9
Subject Category
Space Vehicles
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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