What things can be done mechanically to make the ISS more stable in a dormant state without a crew?
I have listed a couple of links that may work, but I am open for constructive criticism and new ideas.

  • $\begingroup$ The crew have nothing to do with keeping the ISS stable, it's all automatic. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD space.com/… $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


Adding a long pole to the station (particularly with sufficient mass on the end) will increase the station's moment of inertia. This will reduce the effect that a perturbation will have on the station's attitude. However, it also makes it more difficult to correct an error in the attitude.

The reaction wheels that are already on the station are a better solution.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How does gravity gradient play into this? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ The pole itself would not have extra mass at the end. It would have solar vanes. $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 4:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Muze Which presumably have some mass. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ If you want to comment on this in an informed way you should look up the subject. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity-gradient_stabilization Leaving this effect out makes your answer useless. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The ISS has Control Moment Gyroscopes, not reaction wheels. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 17:00

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