A dumbbell-shaped rigid body can be used to represent certain large spacecraft or asteroids with bimodal mass distributions. Such a dumbbell body is modeled as two identical mass particles connected by a rigid, massless link. Equations of motion for the five degrees of freedom of the dumbbell body in a central gravitational field are obtained. The equations of motion characterize three orbit degrees of freedom, two attitude degrees of freedom, and the coupling between them. The system has a continuous symmetry due to a cyclic variable associated with the angle of right ascension of the dumbbell body. Reduction with respect to this symmetry gives a reduced system with four degrees of freedom. Relative equilibria, corresponding to circular orbits, are obtained from these reduced equations of motion; the stability of these relative equilibria is assessed. It is shown that unstable relative equilibria can be stabilized by suitable attitude feedback control of the dumbbell.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Aerospace Engineering
- Space and Planetary Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Applied Mathematics