Kinetics: Studying Spacecraft Motion

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  • Continuous Systems and Rigid Bodies
    • The dynamical equations of motion are developed using classical Eulerian and Newtonian mechanics. Emphasis is placed on rigid body angular momentum and kinetic energy expression that are shown in a coordinate frame agnostic manner. The development begins with deformable shapes (continuous systems) which are then frozen into rigid objects, and the associated equations are thus simplified.
  • Torque Free Motion
    • The motion of a single or dual rigid body system is explored when no external torques are acting on it. Large scale tumbling motions are studied through polhode plots, while analytical rate solutions are explored for axi-symmetric and general spacecraft shapes. Finally, the dual-spinner dynamical system illustrates how the associated gyroscopics can be exploited to stabilize any principal axis spin.
  • Gravity Gradients
    • The differential gravity across a rigid body is approximated to the first order to study how it disturbs both the attitude and orbital motion. The gravity gradient relative equilibria conditions are derived, whose stability is analyzed through linearization.
  • Equations of Motion with Momentum Exchange Devices
    • The equations of motion of a rigid body are developed with general momentum exchange devices included. The development begins with looking at variable speed control moment gyros (VSCMG), which are then specialized to classical single-gimbal control moment devices (CMGs) and reaction wheels (RW).