This chapter demonstrates analysis and control of the attitude motion of a gravity-gradient stabilized spacecraft in eccentric orbit. The attitude motion is modeled by nonlinear planar pitch dynamics with periodic coefficients and additionally subjected to external periodic excitation. Consequently, using system state augmentation, Lyapunov-Floquet (L-F) transformation, and normal form simplification, we convert the unwieldy attitude dynamics into relatively more amenable schemes for motion analysis and control law development. We analyze the dynamical system’s periodicity, stability, resonance, and chaos via numerous nonlinear dynamic theory techniques facilitated by intuitive system state augmentation and Lyapunov-Floquet transformation. Versal deformation of the normal forms is constructed to investigate the bifurcation behavior of the dynamical system. Outcome from the analysis indicates that the motion is quasi-periodic, chaotic, librational, and undergoing a Hopf bifurcation in the small neighborhood of the critical point-engendering locally stable limit cycles. Consequently, we demonstrate the implementation of linear and nonlinear control laws (i.e., bifurcation and sliding mode control laws) on the relatively acquiescent transformed attitude dynamics. By employing a two-pronged approach, the quasiperiodic planar motion is independently shown to be stabilizable via the nonlinear control approaches.
Part of the book: Advances in Spacecraft Attitude Control