Session

Weekend Poster Session 2

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The attitude determination and control system (ADCS) for a satellite is responsible for multiple key roles in a satellite’s mission, including detumbling the satellite after deployment, pointing payload sensors, and orienting antennas and solar panels for effective communication and power generation. Designing an effective ADCS is crucial to a mission’s success; however, current methods often rely on actuators and sensors that are bulky and expensive, such as reaction wheels and star trackers. While these systems can provide high accuracy, they often cannot be used on CubeSats due to volume, weight, and cost restrictions.

This work builds upon PyCubed, a radiation-tolerant avionics platform for CubeSats that is programmable entirely in Python, by adding a low-cost, open-source attitude determination and control system that is scalable to smaller spacecraft like 1U CubeSats. This system relies on simple consumer-grade magnetometers, gyroscopes, and sun sensors to estimate the orientation of the satellite, along with a set of magnetic torque coils for actuation. By combining these low-cost sensors and actuators with sophisticated calibration, estimation, motion planning, and control software, we are able to achieve full three-axis attitude determination and control. The system is also completely solid-state, with no moving parts or need for consumable propellant, greatly reducing the chance of hardware failure.

To further improve the development cycle and increase success rates for CubeSat missions, we have also developed an open-source hardware-in-the-loop simulator to enable rapid testing of ADCS algorithms and other flight software. The result is a robust, open-source development suite for CubeSats that is low cost, easy to program, and reliable.

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Aug 7th, 10:15 AM

A Low-Cost Attitude Determination and Control System and Hardware-in-the-Loop Testbed for CubeSats

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The attitude determination and control system (ADCS) for a satellite is responsible for multiple key roles in a satellite’s mission, including detumbling the satellite after deployment, pointing payload sensors, and orienting antennas and solar panels for effective communication and power generation. Designing an effective ADCS is crucial to a mission’s success; however, current methods often rely on actuators and sensors that are bulky and expensive, such as reaction wheels and star trackers. While these systems can provide high accuracy, they often cannot be used on CubeSats due to volume, weight, and cost restrictions.

This work builds upon PyCubed, a radiation-tolerant avionics platform for CubeSats that is programmable entirely in Python, by adding a low-cost, open-source attitude determination and control system that is scalable to smaller spacecraft like 1U CubeSats. This system relies on simple consumer-grade magnetometers, gyroscopes, and sun sensors to estimate the orientation of the satellite, along with a set of magnetic torque coils for actuation. By combining these low-cost sensors and actuators with sophisticated calibration, estimation, motion planning, and control software, we are able to achieve full three-axis attitude determination and control. The system is also completely solid-state, with no moving parts or need for consumable propellant, greatly reducing the chance of hardware failure.

To further improve the development cycle and increase success rates for CubeSat missions, we have also developed an open-source hardware-in-the-loop simulator to enable rapid testing of ADCS algorithms and other flight software. The result is a robust, open-source development suite for CubeSats that is low cost, easy to program, and reliable.