What is it about?

Angular velocity detumbling is one of the very first mission objectives after a small satellite is released from a launch vehicle. Due to stringent constraints on their volume and weight, small spacecraft typically rely on magnetic actuators for attitude control and at times can afford only a single-axis magnetic torquer. This paper proposes an approach to detumble such an underactuated satellite with only a single-axis magnetic coil. The control design exploits Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC). Details of NMPC design, closed-loop stabilizability analysis, and simulation results are reported.

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Why is it important?

This note explores the way to detumble an under-actuated spacecraft using Non-linear Model Predictive Control. There has not been any other paper to investigate how to achieve such a difficult mission with only a single-axis actuator to the best of our knowledge. We have shown how to accomplish such detumbling, the controllability and stability analyses, and the limitation of using a single-magnetic torquer for angular velocity attenuation.

Perspectives

It was a great opportunity to work on this research in collaboration with Professor Kolmanovsky at University of Michigan, who has given me great advice to improve the work. I have developed knowledge of non-linear systems, controllability analysis, and simulation skills through working with him. I am also very grateful that the professors at Kyushu University have always supported me while I stayed in Michigan.

Kota Kondo
Kyushu University

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This page is a summary of: Nonlinear Model Predictive Detumbling of Small Satellites with a Single-Axis Magnetorquer, Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, March 2021, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), DOI: 10.2514/1.g005877.
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