- Satellites must take precise measurements from their place in orbit
- So they don't wobble, satellites are stabilized
- Stabilizing a satellite is attitude control
- The attitude of a satellite is its position in space - its orientation
- Attitude determines what a satellite looks at - which way its cameras are facing, and the angle the satellite makes with the object it is orbiting
- To stabilize a satellite, the satellite must have a system that keeps it moving evenly through its orbit
- Satellites often use a spinning or gyroscopic motion to keep them stable
- A satellite's measurements and pictures will be inaccurate and fuzzy if it is not stabilized
- A satellite's orbit is more likely to decay - slowly change course either toward the Earth or out into space - if it is not stabilized
- In stabilizing a satellite, the direction that the satellites' instruments and solar panels are facing is also important
- It is easier and cheaper to power a satellite that has solar panels that are constantly exposed to the sunlight; this is necessary for satellites with extraordinarily high energy requirements; however, this is not possible if the satellite is spinning
- There are several ways to stabilize a satellite:
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Last updated on: 8 August 1997.