Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS)

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ADCS is an inclusive system of sensors (magnetometer, sun sensors), actuators (torque rods, reaction wheels), and all the operational control that happens in between.

A spacecraft’s ADCS determines the orientation (attitude) of the spacecraft in orbit and will use actuators to maneuver it into the desired position. These systems have become important solutions for hardware-constrained small satellites that need the control to point antennas at ground stations and position solar arrays toward the sun.

Learn more

  1. US Federal Aviation Administration | Space Vehicle Control Systems 4.3.1 [PDF]. Accessed 20 October 2018.
  2. Starin Scott R & Eterno John; Attitude Determination and Control Systems; NASA Technical Reporters Server; 2011 [PDF]. Accessed 20 October 2018