Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. T. Michael Seigler


This dissertation addresses rigid body attitude control with piecewise sinusoidal signals. We consider rigid-body attitude kinematics on SO(3) with a class of sinusoidal inputs. We present a new closed-form solution of the rotation matrix kinematics. The solution is analyzed and used to prove controllability. We then present kinematic-level orientation-feedback controllers for setpoint tracking and command following.

Next, we extend the sinusoidal kinematic-level control to the dynamic level. As a representative dynamic system, we consider a CubeSat with vibrating momentum actuators that are driven by small $\epsilon$-amplitude piecewise sinusoidal internal torques. The CubeSat kinetics are derived using Newton-Euler's equations of motion. We assume there is no external forcing and the system conserves zero angular momentum. A second-order approximation of the CubeSat rotational motion on SO(3) is derived and used to derive a setpoint tracking controller that yields order O(ε2) closed-loop error. Numerical simulations are presented to demonstrate the performance of the controls. We also examine the effect of the external damping on the CubeSat kinetics.

In addition, we investigate the feasibility of the piecewise sinusoidal control techniques using an experimental CubeSat system. We present the design of the CubeSat mechanical system, the control system hardware, and the attitude control software. Then, we present and discuss the experiment results of yaw motion control. Furthermore, we experimentally validate the analysis of the external damping effect on the CubeSat kinetics.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (CMMI-1538782) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NSSC17M0040).