Magnetic Attitude Control of Gossamer Spacecraft using a 3D-printed, Electrically Conducting Support Structure

Robb, B., McRobb, M. and McInnes, C. (2020) Magnetic Attitude Control of Gossamer Spacecraft using a 3D-printed, Electrically Conducting Support Structure. In: 2020 AIAA SciTech Forum, Orlando, Florida, USA, 6-10 Jan 2020, ISBN 9781624105951 (doi:10.2514/6.2020-0714)

204543.pdf - Accepted Version



An attitude control strategy for gossamer spacecraft is proposed, where control torques are generated by an electrically conducting support structure interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. A mathematical model of the structure is developed, where the overall torque is found by summation of the Lorentz forces acting upon each current-carrying structural element. Different geometric configurations are shown to allow effective magnetic dipole moments in three orthogonal directions. With this model, the results of dynamic simulation are presented in order to assess the ability of the conducting structure to detumble itself in-orbit, using the classical Bdot control law. The possibility of using this attitude control system to manoeuvre orbital reflectors is then investigated. The required angular accelerations for a large solar reflector in polar orbit to continuously illuminate a fixed point on the Earth’s surface are derived within a simplified model, and compared with those achievable by the conducting structure. Simulation is then used to assess whether the conducting structure is capable of achieving partial attitude control of an orbital reflector, for example to illuminate terrestrial solar power farms at dawn and dusk when their output is low.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robb, Mr Bonar and McRobb, Dr Malcolm and McInnes, Professor Colin
Authors: Robb, B., McRobb, M., and McInnes, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 by Bonar Robb, Malcolm McRobb and Colin McInnes
First Published:First published in AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
Related URLs:

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record