Chaos in a Spacecraft Attitude Maneuver Due to Time-Periodic Perturbations

[+] Author and Article Information
G. L. Gray

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

I. Dobson

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706

D. C. Kammer

Department of Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wl 53706

J. Appl. Mech 63(2), 501-508 (Jun 01, 1996) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2788896 History: Received December 04, 1992; Revised September 03, 1993; Online October 26, 2007


We use Melnikov’s method to study the chaotic dynamics of an attitude transition maneuver of a torque-free rigid body in going from minor axis spin to major axis spin under the influence of small damping. The chaotic motion is due to the formation of Smale horseshoes which are caused by the oscillation of small subbodies inside the satellite. The equations of motion are derived and then transformed into a form suitable for the application of Melnikov’s method. An analytical criterion for chaotic motion is derived in terms of the system parameters. This criterion is evaluated for its significance to the design of artificial satellites.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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