Three Dimensional Attitude Control of an Underactuated Satellite with Thrusters

Yasuhiro Yoshimura1,a, Takashi Matsuno1,b and Shinji Hokamoto2

1Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Graduate course of Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.

2Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


This paper deals with the three-dimensional attitude control of an underactuated satellite equipped with thrusters whose force directions are fixed with respect to the satellite. Using the wz-parameters for a satellite's attitude expression, this paper proposes a nonholonomic attitude controller which is effective for any satellites regardless of its moment of inertia. Although thrusters generate unilateral forces, three thrusters placed in a parallel configuration can control the satellite’s threedimensional attitude motion. Numerical simulation is shown to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed controller. Furthermore, the efficiency of a controller for different thruster positions is also discussed.

Keywords: Attitude control, Nonlinear control, Thruster, Nonholonomic constraints, Unilateral inputs.

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