I'd hope that you would be able to find team members who would actually
read a prescribed proper text if doing so will avert disaster. (Better
still if they have the initiative to go off and find extra reading
It would probably be best if they know that there is/are (a) large
technical book(s) set aside somewhere so that anyone in the group may
consult it/them as required.
For a smaller, easier to read cheap book I like "The Communications
Satellite", Mark Williamson, 1990, Adam Hilger imprint of IOP Publishing
Ltd, ISBN 0-85274-192-8. My copy is at home so I can not leaf through it
now to see exactly how much it covers on attitude control etc. but roughly
the first half of the book is about satellite technology in general
whereas only the second part is specific to communications satellites.
All things considered it is pretty small (with a footprint of about that
of an A5 page (210mm x 149mm) and probably about 200 or 300 pages) but
will still take a fair bit of time to read: especially if you want the
workers to be so competent and familiar with the whole field that they
will spot blunders in other divisions' work.
Despite its relatively small size it still has depth: a former workmate of
mine did not believe that the weight difference due to one end being a
few metres closer to the Earth than the other on a uniform satellite could
be significant in addressing attitude stabilisation before I showed him
the piece on gravity gradient stabilisation therein. Mark Williamson
neatly summed it up with "This use of gravity in orbit, incidentally,
explains why the term microgravity should strictly be used in place of
zero gravity for low Earth orbit applications."
I do not know how much it costs but it could hardly be much more than
thirty pounds sterling. I bought it directly off the author at a huge
discount (in the order of 75%) for about four pounds sterling. I would not
be certain that he still does this anymore nor that he would post them off
to another continent but if you chase me up for his contact details you
Mark Williamson also wrote a dictionary of space technology. Certainly
some sort of a dictionary or encyclopaedia would be handy, unless you want
to rely on textbooks' glossaries and indices.
Colin Paul Gloster
On Fri, 16 Mar 2001, Alan and Carmel Brain wrote:
"It looks as if I might (stress might) be given the job of Software Team
for the Satellite Avionics of the FEDSAT project, Australia's first
Satellite in 30 years (Hurray for us!).
Is there anyone on this list with experience in the problem domain
who can recommend some good, cheap books on the basic theory that
I can use to teach the newbies on the project? It shouldn't strictly
be neccessary, but I always like having everyone on the team to have
a reasonable basic knowledge of the theory of what we're doing, just
as an additional line of defence against stupid mistakes. So we know
our Apogee from our Perigee, what an Attitude Control System does,
how it works, how often (about) we should be triggering measurements
etc. A Gut feel for things, in other words. Right within an order of
[..] So additional defences in this area are
Doubleplusgood. I want the most junior intern who's never seen a
satlleite before to be able to say "isn't that supposed to be in km
not ft?" if the numbers don't look right by an order of magnitude or so.
Even if - especially if - it's in an area they aren't concerned with.
So... is there a "Satellites for Dummies" <g> out there?"