Actually, attitude does not refer to the position of a non-person object in three-space, but rather its orientation. Location or position does. Attitude is the expression of the position of an object on its three rotational axes - roll, pitch and yaw.

In order to have an absolute (as opposed to relative or delta) attitude, you do in fact need an external reference frame. This is typically either the surface of the earth (for aircraft) or the offset from the velocity vector (for spacecraft).

Note that for people or creatures, the term attitude can include a whole range of information, including their position.

The tenth Keplerian orbital element, specifying the orientation , (in degrees) that a satellite hold in relation ship to the center of the earth. This value represents orientation at the perigee relative to the orbital plane. Orientation towards the center of the earth is taken to be (0°,0°). As many satellites are spin stabilized, the reference point on the satellite must be chosen carefully. Usually this reference will be the feed horn of a communications antenna. Not all satellites maintain strict attitude control, (i.e. ISS) or may lose the ability as fuel supply is spent. Not expressed in most formats.

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At"ti*tude (#), n. [It. attitudine, LL. aptitudo, fr. L. aptus suited, fitted: cf. F. attitude. Cf. Aptitude.]

1. Paint. & Sculp.

The posture, action, or disposition of a figure or a statue.


The posture or position of a person or an animal, or the manner in which the parts of his body are disposed; position assumed or studied to serve a purpose; as, a threatening attitude; an attitude of entreaty.


Fig.: Position as indicating action, feeling, or mood; as, in times of trouble let a nation preserve a firm attitude; one's mental attitude in respect to religion.

The attitude of the country was rapidly changing. J. R. Green.

To strike an attitude, to take an attitude for mere effect.

Syn. -- Attitude, Posture. Both of these words describe the visible disposition of the limbs. Posture relates to their position merely; attitude refers to their fitness for some specific object. The object of an attitude is to set forth exhibit some internal feeling; as, attitude of wonder, of admiration, of grief, etc. It is, therefore, essentially and designedly expressive. Its object is the same with that of gesture; viz., to hold forth and represent. Posture has no such design. If we speak of posture in prayer, or the posture of devotion, it is only the natural disposition of the limbs, without any intention to show forth or exhibit.

'T is business of a painter in his choice of attitudes (positurae) to foresee the effect and harmony of the lights and shadows. Dryden.

Never to keep the body in the same posture half an hour at a time. Bacon.


© Webster 1913.

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