Optimal Momentum Unloading of Reaction Wheels in the Presence of Attitude Control Errors

Yusuf Acar, Nadjim Horri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The attitude of low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites is typically controlled by reaction wheels, which exchange angular momentum with the platform without consuming propellant. However, the momentum of wheels is known to build up and reach wheel speed saturation under the effect of external disturbance torques such as gravity gradient torques, aerodynamics torques, solar radiation torques and erroneous control torques from thrusters and magnetic torquers. As a consequence, the control torque required for attitude stabilization can no longer be generated by the wheels. To prevent this phenomenon, the momentum of the reaction wheels has to be rapidly unloaded by magnetic torquers and/or thrusters. The momentum desaturation must be fast but energy efficient. In this work, we consider different optimal control approaches to achieve this momentum dumping task.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Conference
PublisherAerospace Research Central
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-224-0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event2013 AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference: MGNC13 - Boston, United States
Duration: 19 Aug 201322 Aug 2013


Conference2013 AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference
Abbreviated title2013 AIAA GNC Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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