Willem Jordaan


I am currently a lecturer in the Electric and Electronic Engineering Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. I obtained my PhD at Stellenbosch University in 2015. My dissertation mainly focused on the deployment and control of solar sailing satellites. During and since my post-graduate studies I have been involved in a number of satellite missions and contributed in the development of a variety of satellite hardware mainly focused on attitude control.

Contact Details:



I have taught the following undergraduate courses:

  1. Electro Technique 214 (Circuit Theory and Electric Machines)
  2. Computer Programming 143 (Introductory to Programming)
  3. Computer Systems 414 (Embedded Systems)


Study leader for the following uncompleted Master theses:

  1. “Deployment and dynamics of a spinning solar sail”, L. Hibbert started 2017 (co-supervisor with Prof W.H Steyn).
  2. “Pose estimation with stereo cameras”, W.C. De Jongh started 2017 (co-supervisor with Dr C.E van Daalen).


I am interested in a number of different fields including: Control systems, Computer systems, Satellite systems, Unmanned vehicles and general robotics. A number publications are listed below:

Papers at Peer-Reviewed Conferences/Symposia

  1. “Spinning Solar Sail in an Earth-Centred Orbit”, HW Jordaan & WH Steyn, 5th UN/Japan Nanosatellite Symposium, Nagoya Japan, 10-13 Oct 2012.
  2. “The Attitude Control of a Tri-Spin Solar Sail Satellite”, HW Jordaan & WH Steyn, 3rd International Symposium on Solar Sailing, Glasgow Scotland, 11-13 June 2013.
  3. “Attitude Manoeuvres of a Tri-Spin Solar Sail Satellite”, HW Jordaan & WH Steyn, SACAC Control Systems Day, University of Cape Town, 27 Nov 2013.
  4. “An Active Attitude Control System for a Drag Sail Satellite”, WH Steyn & HW Jordaan, Paper IAC-15.B4.6A.1, 66th International Astronautical Congress, Jerusalem Israel, 12-16 Oct 2015. Proceedings ISSN 1995-6258
  5. “Gyro-Control of a Solar Sailing Satellite”, HW Jordaan & WH Steyn, 4th International Symposium on Solar Sailing, Kyoto Japan, 17-20 June 2017.

Publications in Journals

  1. “An active attitude control system for a drag sail satellite”, WH Steyn & HW Jordaan, Online available since July 2016, Elsevier & Science Direct, Acta Astronautica, 128 (2016), pp. 313-321, 2016.

Published Book Chapters

  1. “The OuterNet: A novel satellite communication relay constellation”, M-A Kearney, PJ Botma, HW Jordaan, J Gerber, E Thesnaar, F Nolte, A Erlank, C Groenewald, A Barnard, Book Chapter in: Innovative Ideas for Micro/Nano-Satellite Missions, IAA Book Series,Vol.1, No.3, 2013, ISBN/EAN IAA: 978-2-917761-28-1.
  2. “The Attitude Control of a Tri-Spin Solar Sail Satellite”, HW Jordaan & WH Steyn, Book Chapter in: Advances in Solar Sailing, Publisher Springer Praxis Books 2014, pp.755-769, ISBN: 978-3-642-34907-2.
  3. “A Nano-Satellite Constellation for Tracking and Monitoring Endangered Wildlife in Developing Countries”, JH le Roux, A Heunis, G Janse van Vuuren, A Barnard, HW Jordaan, D Steyn, N Rossouw, M Bin Othman, N Calitz, M Junaid & C Groenewald, Book Chapter in: Inventive Ideas for Micro/Nano-Satellites The MIC3 Report, IAA Book Series, Vol.1 No.5, 2015, ISBN/EAN IAA: 978-2-917761-38-0, pp.37-49.
  4. “Graphene Foam Deorbit Sail with Failsafe Release Mechanism”, Jürgen Lüdemann, Jurie H. Wessels, Aaron Buysse, André-Jan Merts, Arno Barnard & Hendrik W. Jordaan , Book Chapter in: Innovative Ideas on Micro/Nano-Satellite Missions and Systems Report on Deorbit Device Competition (DDC) and Mission Idea Contest (MIC4), IAA Book Series, Vol.1 No.7, 2017, ISBN/EAN IAA: 978-2-917761-55-7, pp.63-76.