Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)

Document Type





Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. James E. Lumpp


This thesis addresses the problem of designing and evaluating passive satellite attitude control systems for small satellites. Passive stabilization techniques such as Gravity Gradient stabilization, Passive Magnetic Stabilization, and Aerodynamic stabilization in Low Earth Orbit utilize the geometric and magnetic design of a satellite and the orbit properties to passively provide attitude stabilization and basic pointing. The design of such stabilization systems can be done using a high fidelity simulation of the satellite and the environmental effects in the orbit under consideration to study the on-orbit behavior and the effectiveness of the stability system in overcoming the disturbance torques. The Orbit Propagator described in this thesis is developed to include models for orbit parameters, Gravity Gradient torque, Aerodynamic Torque, Magnetic Torque, and Magnetic Hysteresis Material for angular rate damping. Aerodynamic stabilization of a three-unit CubeSat with deployable side panels in a “shuttlecock” design is studied in detail. Finally, the Passive Magnetic Stabilization system of KySat-1, a one-unit CubeSat, is also described in detail and the simulation results are shown.