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Optimal rotation sequences in presence of constraints on admissable rotation axes

Avanzini, Giulio and Bernardo, Luca and Giuletti, Fabrizio and Minisci, Edmondo (2011) Optimal rotation sequences in presence of constraints on admissable rotation axes. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 34 (2). pp. 554-563. ISSN 1533-3884

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In underactuated conditions, satellite attitude actuators can deliver a control torque with two components only. The paper develops a general solution for the problem of attitude manoeuver planning for underactuated spacecraft by means of a sequence of N admissible rotations, where a rotation is considered to be admissible if it takes place around an axis which lies on the plane where the actuator system can deliver a control torque. An exact solution for the sequence of two feasible rotations that provides a desired reorientation is derived, where the minimum angular path sequence can also be identified analytically. The optimal sequence for a higher number of steps is obtained by means of a numerical optimization procedure. The features of the optimal sequences for increasing values of N are investigated in order to obtain a better understanding of their characteristics.