a certain angular position that is imparted to a spacecraft with respect to celestial bodies, lines of force of magnetic and gravitational fields, or other given directions in space.
The orientation of a spacecraft varies according to the craft’s function. In astronomical studies of the sun, moon, or stars, the spacecraft must be oriented toward the corresponding celestial bodies. A communications satellite with directional antennas is oriented, or aimed, toward terrestrial communications centers, and spacecraft equipped with solar batteries are oriented with the working surface of the batteries toward the sun. During rendezvous of two spacecraft, mutual orientation is required in some cases.