Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Stuart Kramer, PhD

Second Advisor

Edward Pohl, PhD

Third Advisor

Gregory Agnes, PhD


Technological advances have brought Flywheel Energy Storage (FES) systems to the point where they can be used in satellites as replacements for chemical batteries. Flywheels have characteristics that may overcome limitations inherent in batteries. These characteristics include high specific energy, minimal degradation over time, and precise knowledge of charge level. A further advantage of flywheels is that, in a combined system, they can be used to replace traditional attitude control hardware. These Integrated Power and Attitude Control Systems (IPACS) show the potential to have less mass than the systems they replace. The question this study seeks to answer is, "In what circumstances should FES be used on-board satellites and, if so, how?" The utility of power and attitude control systems using FES or IPACS was compared to baseline satellite designs using traditional battery energy storage. The results of this study show that IPACS is generally superior to current technology batteries. IPACS is most effective in satellite applications with many charge/discharge cycles. In the case of geosynchronous Earth orbit missions batteries proved to be marginally superior in a few cases. But for low Earth orbit missions IPACS was shown to be markedly superior.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-authored thesis.