A distributed nanosatellite attitude testing laboratory for joint research activities

A distributed nanosatellite attitude testing laboratory for joint research activities

Curatolo Andrea, Manconi Francesco, Lughi Chiara

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Abstract. During the last decades, there has been an increase in the use of satellites of reduced dimensions. Among the others, microsatellites (mass from 11 to 200 kg) and nanosatellites (1 to 10 kg) have been the ones receiving increasing interest from Universities for educational activities [1], [2]. Their reduced cost, complexity and developing time compared to larger satellites make them particularly suitable for student projects. In this regard CubeSats (satellites of standardised dimensions, based on 1 unit, 10x10x10 cm) were developed at Caltech with the goal of having a low cost and fast to be developed satellite [3]. The CubeSat form factor has then been widely used also for scientific and commercial space missions [4]. Alongside the development of nanosatellites, there has been an increase in the need for better CubeSat testing for improving CubeSat reliability [5]. As reported in an extensive study on 855 CubeSats [4], at the year 2018 almost 25% of CubeSats missions failed in their early life stage (infant mortality). One of the subsystems more difficult to be tested is the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS). This subsystem includes sensors for attitude determination, actuators for attitude control and an onboard controller. Integrated subsystem testing is a challenging task since the device under test should freely rotate under low torque conditions and sensors/actuators should be stimulated. A common way to provide a free rotational environment is to use an air bearing table [6].

CubeSats, Satellite Testing, Laboratory Equipment

Published online 9/1/2023, 8 pages
Copyright © 2023 by the author(s)
Published under license by Materials Research Forum LLC., Millersville PA, USA

Citation: Curatolo Andrea, Manconi Francesco, Lughi Chiara, A distributed nanosatellite attitude testing laboratory for joint research activities, Materials Research Proceedings, Vol. 33, pp 205-212, 2023

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21741/9781644902677-30

The article was published as article 30 of the book Aerospace Science and Engineering

Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

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