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Sam F Mead

Rate of satellite rotation due to aerodynamic drag


Hi there!

Im currently a bit stuck on one section of a project I am currently undertaking. The project concerns a deployable panel system fitted to a 1U  (10x10x10cm) cube satellite, orbiting at an altitude of 600km.

I have calculated the effect of atmospheric drag on the satellite to be equal to 2.016*10^-8, so...my question is this, when the panels are collapsed (ie the shape is symmetrical), then the system is in equilibrium, if i were to open one panel on one side of the satellite (offsetting its centre of mass and therefore making the forces acting on the system unequal), am I correct in saying that the satellite will pivot?

So as you can see from the diagram below,


I have calculated the moments about the centre of the satellite to be:

Ma = (0.05  *  (2.016*10^-8)) - (0.1 (2.016*10^-8)) = -1.008*10^-9 Nm

Is this correct? If so would it cause the satellite to pivot around the centre of mass? Lastly is there a way to work out the rate of its rotation?


Thanks for any help anyone can offer! Im just a bit confused!!

Sam :) 


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