Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control

Course #AE3818

Est.imated Completion Time: 3 months


Definition of reference frames for spacecraft attitude determination and control systems (ADCS). Attitude parameterizations and transformation of vectors between two reference frames. Block diagrams for spacecraft ADCS. Overview of common spacecraft attitude sensors and actuators. Attitude determination algorithms. Rigid body orientation differential kinematics and spacecraft rotational dynamics. Review of linear feedback control, and application of feedback control to spacecraft pointing. ADCS considerations for spacecraft design. Discussion of cyber-security in relation to ADCS. Laboratory projects include simulation and analysis of spacecraft attitude dynamics, pointing, control, and practical challenges.

Included in degrees & certificates

  • 299
  • 569


  • ME2801
  • EC2300

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will:

  • Be familiar with the fundamental concepts of spacecraft rotational mechanics.
  • Be able to develop analytical models and perform numerical simulations of spacecraft rotational mechanics problems.
  • Be familiar with the determination of spacecraft attitude and angular velocity using state-of-the-art sensors.
  • Be familiar with the control of spacecraft attitude using state-of-the-art actuators and feedback control methods.
  • Understand and use the methods, devices and systems used for spacecraft attitude determination and control.
  • Develop analytical model and perform numerical simulations of spacecraft attitude determination and control problems.
  • Acquire the fundamentals for other successive 3000 and 4000 level classes.
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Academic Calendar

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

See NPS Academic Calendar for more dates.