Session

Technical Session V: Advanced Technologies Section II

SSC04-V-2.pdf (2511 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The BRIght-star Target Explorer (BRITE) mission plans to make photometric observations of some of the brightest stars in the sky, which are also among the intrinsically most luminous stars, in order to examine these stars for variability with a precision at least 10 times better than that achievable using ground-based observations. Because of the brightness of the target stars, a very small (3cm) aperture telescope collecting light for a camera equipped with a CMOS detector will suffice. The small aperture size and low power consumption of the CMOS detector are compatible with nanosatellite size and power constraints, and so BRITE is planned as a nanosat mission. A related stellar photometry mission, MOST, uses a microsatellite platform; when design for this began about 8 years ago, Dynacon developed two enabling technologies---new miniaturized reaction wheels (MicroWheels) and new star tracker software integrated with the science instrument---to achieve 3-axis stabilization and arc-second pointing accuracy. Following the same path even further, BRITE will use Dynacon’s further-miniaturized NanoWheels, and a nanosat-sized star tracker, to achieve arc-minute pointing accuracy. The instrument and attitude control subsystem will be supported by a nanosat bus, based on SFL’s CanX nanosat bus design. This paper summarizes the science objectives of this mission, and describes the design of the BRITE nanosatellite.

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Aug 10th, 4:44 PM

Arc-Minute Nanosatellite Attitude Control: Enabling Technology for the BRITE Stellar Photometry Mission

The BRIght-star Target Explorer (BRITE) mission plans to make photometric observations of some of the brightest stars in the sky, which are also among the intrinsically most luminous stars, in order to examine these stars for variability with a precision at least 10 times better than that achievable using ground-based observations. Because of the brightness of the target stars, a very small (3cm) aperture telescope collecting light for a camera equipped with a CMOS detector will suffice. The small aperture size and low power consumption of the CMOS detector are compatible with nanosatellite size and power constraints, and so BRITE is planned as a nanosat mission. A related stellar photometry mission, MOST, uses a microsatellite platform; when design for this began about 8 years ago, Dynacon developed two enabling technologies---new miniaturized reaction wheels (MicroWheels) and new star tracker software integrated with the science instrument---to achieve 3-axis stabilization and arc-second pointing accuracy. Following the same path even further, BRITE will use Dynacon’s further-miniaturized NanoWheels, and a nanosat-sized star tracker, to achieve arc-minute pointing accuracy. The instrument and attitude control subsystem will be supported by a nanosat bus, based on SFL’s CanX nanosat bus design. This paper summarizes the science objectives of this mission, and describes the design of the BRITE nanosatellite.