Attitude propagation using non-singular canonical variables
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Three sets of non-singular canonical variables for the rotational motion are analyzed. These sets are useful when the angle between z-axis of a coordinate system fixed in artificial satellite ( here defined by the directions of principal moments of inertia of the satellite) and the rotational angular momentum vector is zero or when the angle between Z-inertial axis and rotational angular momentum vector is zero. The goal of this paper is to compare all these sets and to determine the benefits of their uses. With this objective, the dynamical equations of each set were derived, when mean hamiltonian associate with the gravity gradient torque is included. For the torque-free rotational motion, analytical solutions are computed for symmetrical satellite for each set of variables. When the gravity gradient torque is included, an analytical solution is shown for one of the sets and a numerical solution is obtained for one of the other sets. By this analysis we can conclude that: the dynamical equation for the first set is simple but it has neither clear geometrical nor physical meaning; the other sets have geometrical and physical meaning but their dynamical equations are more complex.