Time-optimal magnetic attitude maneuvers Academic Article uri icon


  • Time-optimal magnetic attitude maneuvers for near-Earth spin-stabilized spacecraft are treated using Pontryagin’s Principle. A nonlinear bang-bang switching function is derived for the electromagnets’ polarity. The approach is quite general, allowing user-prescribed orbit dynamics models and geomagnetic field models. For the case of a single electromagnet aligned with the nominal spin axis of a symmetric satellite, and retaining general orbit and geomagnetic models, the determination of time-optimal magnetic maneuvers reduces to a bounded one-dimensional search of an initial costate variable. The formulation is used to construct extremal field maps of typical optimal maneuvers and is further used to determine “for example” time-optimal maneuvers for the NOVA navigational satellite scheduled for launch in the spring of 1981. © 1981 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Junkins, J. L., Carrington, C. K., & Williams, C. E.

citation count

  • 21

publication date

  • January 1981