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Center Innovation Fund: MSFC CIF

Cubesat Attitude Control System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Project Image   Damage-Tolerant, Lightweight, High-Temperature Radiator for Nuclear Powered Spacecraft
The primary objective of this project is to demonstrate the capabilities of a Cubesat Attitude Control System using low cost attitude sensors, miniature reaction wheels, and micro propulsion hardware. This will take a hi-performing, low cost Cubesat attitude control system from TRL 2 to TRL 4. Using hardware leveraged from existing projects and current partnerships, a Cubesat ACS will be designed by EV40, integrated in a Cubesat test bed (SPRITE Lab), and tested in the Flight Robotics Laboratory The overall objective of this project is to take a hi-performing, low cost Cubesat attitude control system from TRL 2 to TRL 4. This project will use a Cubesat avionics suite, miniature reaction wheels, and a micro-propulsion system to demonstrate an attitude pointing capability previously unknown to the Cubesat class of spacecraft. A 1U Cubesat is 10cm x 10cm x 10cm cube. The final product for this project will be a simple 3U Cubesat with single axis attitude control. Its attitude control capability will be tested on the Flat Floor at the Flight Robotics Lab (FRL) using a specially developed air bearing and an optical tracking system. The project will evaluate the miniature reaction wheels and micro-propulsion as a pair of actuators working in tandem and will also evaluate the possibility of using the actuators individually. The project will require seven main tasks:Design of Attitude; Control System; Hardware Procurement; Fabrication of Micro-Propulsion System; FRL Test Equipment Development; Software Development & Testing; Integration and testing of Cubesat bus at the Small Project Rapid Integration Test Environment (SPRITE) Lab; ACS Testing at the FRL. The design of the attitude control system will be done in Matlab Simulink and will use an existing Microsat simulation as its reference point. The current Microsat Simulation is a modified version of the FASTSAT-HSV01 ACS Simulation and has additional capabilities such as the use of the gyros for a rate sensor and reaction wheels for finer attitude pointing. The Microsat Simulation will be simplified significantly due to the lower complexity of the Cubesat, but it will also require the addition of a propulsion system and modification to the dynamics to account for the environment at the FRL. The simulation will be used to define the micro-propulsion system, develop and evaluate ACS algorithms, and analyze the overall performance of the attitude control systems. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.