Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Eric D. Swenson, PhD.


Experimental satellite attitude simulators have been used to test and analyze control algorithms; driving down risk before implementation on operational satellites. Ideally, the dynamic response of a terrestrial-based experimental satellite attitude simulator matches that of an on-orbit satellite. Unfortunately, gravitational disturbance torques and poorly characterized moments of inertia introduce uncertainty into the system dynamics leading to questionable experimental results. This research consists of three distinct, but related contributions to the field of developing robust satellite attitude simulators. First, existing approaches to estimate mass moments and products of inertia are evaluated followed by a proposition and evaluation of a new approach that increases both the accuracy and precision of these estimates using typical on-board satellite sensors. Next, to better simulate the micro-torque environment of space, a new approach to mass balancing satellite attitude simulator is presented, experimentally evaluated, and verified. Finally, we experimentally analyzed a control moment gyroscope singularity avoidance steering law.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number