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Methods for controlling spacecraft attitudes without exciting spacecraft resonances

Image Number 6 for United States Patent #6076772.

Attitude-control methods are provided which eliminate or reduce structural resonances in spacecraft that are excited by momentum wheel imperfections. The methods are preferably practiced with an over-determined attitude-control system which is typically available because spacecraft often carry backup momentum wheels to insure against failure of primary momentum wheels. In a method embodiment, a set of angular-velocity waveforms is selected that substantially realizes a commanded momentum vector when applied to a corresponding set of momentum wheels wherein none of the selected angular-velocity waveforms dwells at a resonant frequency of the spacecraft. The angular velocity of the corresponding set of momentum wheels is then conformed to the selected set of angular-velocity waveforms to realize a spacecraft attitude that corresponds to the commanded momentum vector without exciting the resonance. The step of selecting the angular-velocity waveforms can include the steps of offsetting a constant rotational frequency and of adding a velocity modulation to avoid dwelling at the resonant frequency.

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