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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Volume-Efficient Momentum-exchange Actuator

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The primary objective of this effort is to increase the robustness of a new momentum exchange actuator for attitude control of CubeSats. The new actuator boasts a reduced volumetric footprint and increased momentum storage capacity as compared to current reaction wheel concepts for small spacecraft. The focus of this effort is to bring our current breadboard-like prototype to environmental tests such as thermal cycling, vibrations, and vacuum tests.

The Volume-Efficient Momentum Exchange Actuator,  is a compactly packaged attitude control actuator designed for small spacecraft. Specifically, the actuator is intended for integration with CubeSat structures. Curren small-spacecraft reaction wheels can use up a full 10 cubic centimeter volume to provide a 3-axis solution while packaging constraints lead to a small momentum-storage-to-volume ratio. This project intends to increase the TRL of the new momentum actuator to provide a viable volume-saving alternative for attitude control of CubeSats. 

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