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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 231935, 9 pages
Research Article

Guidance Stabilization of Satellites Using the Geomagnetic Field

1Center for Research and Development in Mathematics and Applications, University of Aveiro, Portugal
2School of Technology and Management, Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, Avenida do Atlântico, 4900-348 Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Received 21 October 2011; Revised 13 January 2012; Accepted 18 January 2012

Academic Editor: Kenneth M. Sobel

Copyright © 2012 Francisco Miranda. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the last years the small satellites have played an important role in the technological development. The attractive short period of design and low cost of them and the capacity to solve problems that are usually considered as problems to big and expensive spacecrafts lead us to study the control problem of these satellites. Active three-axis magnetic attitude stabilization of a low Earth orbit satellite is considered in this work. The control is created by interaction between the magnetic moment generated by magnetorquers mounted on the satellite body and the geomagnetic field. This problem is quite complex and difficult to solve. To overcome this difficulty guidance control is considered, where we use ε-strategies introduced by Pontryagin in the frame of differential games theory. Qualitative analysis and results of numerical simulation are presented.