This chapter will introduce the space environment satellites must operate in, the motion they make in orbit, and their orientation while in orbit. The forces acting on the spacecraft will be considered, along with the implications of conservation of energy. The fundamentals of orbital mechanics will be presented, so common orbits can be visualized and discussed in terms of the six classical orbital elements. Perturbations impacting the orbit are covered for a better understanding of how orbits change over time. The inertial frame of reference will be defined and then transformed into body coordinates of the satellite using the direction cosine matrix and quaternions to describe the attitude of the spacecraft. A variety of modern attitude control techniques will be developed in the following chapters.
Part of the book: Advances in Spacecraft Attitude Control