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- Spacecraft attitude control

Spin-stabilisation

Spin-stabilisation is the method of stabilizing a satellite or launch vehicle by means of spin. For most satellite applications this approach has been superseded by three-axis stabilisation. It is als

KDU-414

The KDU-414 (Russian Корректирующая Двигательная Установка, Corrective Propulsion Unit), is a pressure-fed liquid rocket Propulsion Unit developed and produced by the Isayev Design Bureau (today known

Reaction wheel

A reaction wheel (RW) is used primarily by spacecraft for three-axis attitude control, and does not require rockets or external applicators of torque. They provide a high pointing accuracy, and are pa

Star tracker

A star tracker is an optical device that measures the positions of stars using photocells or a camera.As the positions of many stars have been measured by astronomers to a high degree of accuracy, a s

Rate gyro

A rate gyro is a type of gyroscope, which rather than indicating direction, indicates the rate of change of angle with time. If a gyro has only one gimbal ring, with consequently only one plane of fre

Ring laser gyroscope

A ring laser gyroscope (RLG) consists of a ring laser having two independent counter-propagating resonant modes over the same path; the difference in phase is used to detect rotation. It operates on t

Rocketdyne LR-101

The LR-101 is a fixed thrust, single start vernier thruster developed by Rocketdyne in the mid-to-late fifties and used in the Atlas, Thor and Delta launch vehicles until 1990. Each of these rockets u

ECAPS

ECAPS AB is a Swedish spacecraft propulsion company, established in 2000 as a joint venture between the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and Volvo Aero with the goal of developing and commercializing i

Reaction control system

A reaction control system (RCS) is a spacecraft system that uses thrusters to provide attitude control and translation. Alternatively, reaction wheels are used for attitude control. Use of diverted en

Quaternion estimator algorithm

The quaternion estimator algorithm (QUEST) is an algorithm designed to solve Wahba's problem, that consists of finding a rotation matrix between two coordinate systems from two sets of observations sa

Solar sail

Solar sails (also known as light sails and photon sails) are a method of spacecraft propulsion using radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors. A number of spaceflight missions to test s

Sun sensor

A sun sensor is a navigational instrument used by spacecraft to detect the position of the sun. Sun sensors are used for attitude control, solar array pointing, gyro updating, and fail-safe recovery.

Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System

The Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) was a reaction control system used in Earth orbit by the Project Gemini spacecraft. It provided both automatic and manual rotation and translation by m

Gravity-gradient stabilization

Gravity-gradient stabilization (a.k.a. "tidal stabilization") is a method of stabilizing artificial satellites or space tethers in a fixed orientation using only the orbited body's mass distribution a

Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students

Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students is an aerospace engineering textbook by Howard D. Curtis, in its fourth edition as of 2019. The book provides an introduction to orbital mechanics, while ass

Magnetorquer

A magnetorquer or magnetic torquer (also known as a torque rod) is a satellite system for attitude control, detumbling, and stabilization built from electromagnetic coils. The magnetorquer creates a m

Triad method

The Triad method is one of the earliest and simplest solutions to the spacecraft attitude determination problem. Given the knowledge of two vectors in the reference and body coordinates of a satellite

Control moment gyroscope

A control moment gyroscope (CMG) is an attitude control device generally used in spacecraft attitude control systems. A CMG consists of a spinning rotor and one or more motorized gimbals that tilt the

Vernier thruster

A vernier thruster is a rocket engine used on a spacecraft for fine adjustments to the attitude or velocity of a spacecraft. Depending on the design of a craft's maneuvering and stability systems, it

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