College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Aerospace Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Aerospace Engineering



Primary Advisor

Jordi Puig-Suari, College of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering Department


The purpose of this paper is to determine the feasibility of gravity gradient stabilizing a 3U CubeSat and then using a miniature reaction wheel to further increase stability characteristics. This paper also serves as a guide to understanding and utilizing quaternions in attitude control analysis. The analytical results show that using 33 centimeter booms and 400 gram tip masses, a 3U CubeSat will experience a maximum of 6 degrees of angular displacement in yaw and pitch, and less than .5 degrees of angular displacement in the nadir axis. A .120 kilogram miniature reaction wheel developed by Sinclair Interplanetary was introduced into the analysis to understand how it affected stability. Spinning at 3410 RPM and using only 160 milli-Watts of power, the wheel was placed so that it spun around the direction of the velocity vector. The results show that a 3U CubeSat will experience less than .05 degrees of angular displacement in all body axes over many orbital periods.