The paper proposes the use of solar radiation pressure for satellite attitude control in elliptic orbits. The system comprises of a satellite with two-oppositely placed solar panels. A simple approximate analytical approach has been adopted to develop control law for suitably rotating the solar panels so as to neutralize the adverse effect of eccentricity normally responsible for a considerable deterioration in the attitude control performance of the conventional passive or semi-passive methods. The detailed numerical simulation of the governing nonlinear equation of motion of the system establishes the feasibility of the proposed control strategy. The proposed controller is found to improve the satellite attitude performance significantly by simply rotating the solar panel by fraction of a degree only. Thus, the semi-passive nature of the proposed control strategy makes it attractive for future space applications requiring modest attitude accuracies. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.