Stability analysis of the attitude of artificial satellites subject to gravity gradient torque
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Using a canonical formulation, the stability of the rotational motion of artificial satellites is analyzed considering perturbations due to the gravity gradient torque. Here Andoyer's variables are used to describe the rotational motion. One of the approaches that allow the analysis of the stability of Hamiltonian systems needs the reduction of the Hamiltonian to a normal form. Firstly equilibrium points are found. Using generalized coordinates, the Hamiltonian is expanded in the neighborhood of the linearly stable equilibrium points. In a next step a canonical linear transformation is used to diagonalize the matrix associated to the linear part of the system. The quadratic part of the Hamiltonian is normalized. Based in a Lie-Hori algorithm a semi-analytic process for normalization is applied and the Hamiltonian is normalized up to the fourth order. Once the Hamiltonian is normalized up to order four, the analysis of stability of the equilibrium point is performed using the theorem of Kovalev and Savichenko. This semi-analytical approach was applied considering some data sets of hypothetical satellites. For the considered satellites it was observed few cases of stable motion. This work contributes for space missions where the maintenance of spacecraft attitude stability is required.