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SBIR/STTR

Reaction Wheel with Embedded MEMS IMU, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Reaction Wheel with Embedded MEMS IMU, Phase II
Reaction wheels are used to stabilize satellites and to slew their orientation from object to object with precision and accuracy by varying the rotational speed of the wheels. Three or four wheels are usually used with three of them aligned along orthogonal axes. The degree to which pointing stability is achieved depends on the stability of the wheels' angular momentum vectors while spinning, which can be affected by static and dynamic unbalance contributions and other wheel construction issues. With the smaller satellites, requiring smaller wheels, the stability of the wheels will be even more challenging as the uncertainty of construction is likely to remain the same. To stabilize the smaller reaction wheels we propose to integrate a Sensor Chip containing MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers with each reaction wheel. This allows direct measurement of the wheel motions for fine-tuning its operation. The improved wheel then becomes a means for improving IMU sensor stability for precision pointing and slewing from object to object. More »

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