This paper addresses the distributed attitude synchronization problem of multiple spacecraft with unknown inertia matrices. Two distributed adaptive controllers are proposed for the cases with and without a virtual leader to which a time-varying reference attitude is assigned. The first controller achieves attitude synchronization for a group of spacecraft with a leaderless communication topology having a directed spanning tree. The second controller guarantees that all spacecraft track the reference attitude if the virtual leader has a directed path to all other spacecraft. Simulation examples are presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the results.Comment: 13 pages, 11 figures. To appear in SCIENCE CHINA Technological Science
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