The problem of fault tolerant attitude stabilization with finite-time convergence is investigated for spacecraft with redundant actuators. On the basis of the sliding mode control technique, a robust controller is derived with uncertain inertia parameters, actuator faults, and external disturbances explicitly addressed. It is shown that finite-time reachability into the small neighborhood of sliding surface, and faster time convergence of attitude orientation are achieved. To address actuator input constraints, an adaptive fault tolerant controller is further proposed. One feature of the proposed strategy is that the design of the fault tolerant control does not require any fault detection and isolation mechanism to detect, separate, and identify actuator faults. The attitude stabilization performance using the controller is evaluated through a numerical example. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.