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three-axis stabilization




A type of stabilization in which a spacecraft maintains a fixed attitude relative to its orbital track. This is achieved by nudging the spacecraft back and forth within a dead-band of allowed attitude error, using small thrusters or reaction wheels. With a three-axis stabilized spacecraft, solar panels can be kept facing the Sun, a directional antenna can be kept pointed at Earth, and cameras can be kept pointed at desired targets without having to be de-spun. On the other hand, rotation maneuvers may be needed to best utilize fields and particle instruments. Voyagers 1 and 2, for example, stay in position using 3-axis stabilization.


Related entry

   • stabilization of satellites


Related category

   • SPACECRAFT NAVIGATION AND CONTROL