Composite anti-unwinding attitude control of spacecraft under actuator saturation and angular velocity limits

Umair Javaid, Ziyang Zhen, Sami Shahid, Salman Ijaz, Dauda Sh Ibrahim

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Spacecraft attitude control employs quaternion representation to avoid singularity issues and obtain global maneuver stability. However, it has redundancy associated, resulting in dual equilibrium points. The attitude control may confront the unwinding phenomenon due to the presence of the equilibria. In this paper, an anti-unwinding controller for spacecraft stabilization in the presence of external disturbances and inertial uncertainties, angular velocity limit, actuator saturation and faults is presented. Specifically, a modified extended state observer (ESO) is designed to obtain total disturbance estimates of the rigid-body spacecraft. Auxiliary parameters are added in the design to avoid initial high estimates in the proposed ESO design resulting in faster convergence. The proposed disturbance observer is to release the assumption that requires the estimated disturbance to be constant or varying at slow rates. Using the ESO estimates, a particular back-stepping-SMC (ESO-BTSMC) controller is devised to formulate anti-unwinding control law for spacecraft stabilization. Lyapunov stability theory is employed to prove closed-loop stability of system and estimation error convergence. Comparative simulations are performed to demonstrate the performance of the proposed control scheme. It is found that the proposed control scheme gives smooth and precise control performance along with faster transient response. Additionally, it also alleviates the chattering phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-564
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2023


  • Attitude control
  • Back-stepping control
  • Extended state observer
  • Input saturation
  • Spacecraft stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Composite anti-unwinding attitude control of spacecraft under actuator saturation and angular velocity limits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this