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This is how satellites can rotate in space [Science]
posted November 28 2012 13:48.46 by Giorgos Lazaridis

How you ever ask yourselves: How can satellites rotate in space? I was sure that satellites use some sort of mini-rockets to rotate them. Rockets create an action so the satellite can rotates due to the reaction. But at 1:06 of the following video i immediately understood that this is not a reliable solution, since rockets need fuel... And there are no gas stations whatsoever out there....

One effective solution is to use large electromagnets and interact with the magnetic field of the earth (mag torquers). There is plenty of sunlight to use and generate electric power. This is a simple and solid-state method but it has a major drawback: It requires a magnetic field! Earth has one but this is not the norm. For example, Mars has no magnetic field. So, how can we rotate a satellite orbiting mars?

The solution to this problem is the CMG for Control Moment Gyro! CMG systems are based on the principle of reaction wheels. You now may wanna visit some of my older posts so see some perfect examples of reaction wheels in action!

Now, get a reaction wheel and attach it in a sophisticated base that can rotate in 2 axis... And there you are! You have yourselves a CMG!

[Link: Smarter Every Day]

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