Estimation of nutation divergence of spinning spacecraft with liquid tanks

Yushi Yamashita, Shujiro Sawai, Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi, Hiroki Matsuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experimental method to estimate the nutation time constant of spacecraft is presented. When a spacecraft is spinning about its minimum moment of inertia, the energy dissipation at liquid tanks causes nutation divergence which may result in mission failure. This study gives a macroscopic investigation of nutation mechanism through hardware simulation using a spacecraft model with liquid tanks in it. The model spins freely in a vacuum chamber and growth of nutation angle is measured via optical camera. Through a series of hardware experiments, it was found that the nutation divergence time constant depends strongly on spin rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-880
Number of pages4
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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