This chapter describes the mathematical formulation of attitude dynamics. Alternative descriptions are available in many standard references, such as Goldstein [1950]; Kibble [1966]; Synge and Griffith [1959]; MacMillan [1936]; and Whittaker [1937]; and in more recent books emphasizing spacecraft applications, such as Thomson [1963] and Kaplan [1976]. Section 16.1 is concerned with equations of motion of attitude dynamics, using the notation defined in Section 12.1. Section 16.2 considers the solutions of these equations for torque-free rigid body motion and the use of these solutions in the variation-of-parameters formulation of rigid body dynamics. Section 16.3 discusses dynamics approximations appropriate for determining nutation parameters from attitude sensor data. Finally, the effects of flexible components on spacecraft dynamics are discussed in Section 16.4.


Body Frame Kinematic Equation Inertia Tensor Spacecraft Attitude Jacobian Elliptic Function 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Wertz
    • 1
  1. 1.Microcosm, Inc.TorranceUSA

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