Re: ISS slow rotation

Tony Crossley (
Mon, 4 Jan 1999 08:58:42 -0600 (CST)

The NASA ISS report Ed pointed us to says "... a naturally stable
spinning orientation ..."

It sounds like the major axis of the body, and the rotation vector,
are aligned to the gravitational field, so is the natural stability
from the gravity gradient? 

If the rotation axis is the body's major axis, I'd term that truly a
roll (intrinsically stable in itself for a cylindrical body), rather
than a tumble (which I think would be intrinsically unstable).  Does
that distinction match convention in the orbital mechanics domain?

- tony
P.A. (Tony) Crossley
N30-17.578 W97-57.135, 1000ft