Date of Award

Fall 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

May-Win Thein

Second Advisor

Igor Tsukrov

Third Advisor

Se Young Yoon


This continued research uses a hybrid dynamic algorithm to mathematically model the attitude dynamics of a flexible spacecraft. While a full finite element model would be the most accurate model, it also would be a huge computational burden on MMS. This method is meant to be an accurate approximation while still being computationally reasonable for on-board, real-time calculations. The algorithm uses Euler’s Moment Equations to propagate the dynamics of the spacecraft hub while finite element analysis is used to calculate the flexible boom displacements and update the systems mass moment of inertia tensor. This algorithm is iterative and the FEM runs a user-defined number of times within each iteration. Experimental results show that the algorithm is reasonably accurate and can provide a viable approximation for flexible, spin-stabilized spacecraft. Lastly, comparison of controller performance shows Sliding Mode Control to be the most expensive yet most robust control method for this application.