Design of a Compound ADCS for the UoMBSat1 Pico-Satellite

Project: UoMBSat1 - MSc By Research
Supervisor: Dr Ing. Marc A. Azzopardi
Status: Ongoing
Funding: Endeavour Scholarship
Student: Darren Debattista
Co-Supervisor: Dr Ing. Marvin Bugeja
Advisor: Prof. Ing. Simon Fabri
Date: 2016 - 2019

This project will design and realise the flight-ready hardware implementation of an attitude determination and control system (ADCS) for the UoMBSat1 Pico-Satellite. A robust, reliable, low power and cost effective ADCS will be designed to fit in the 5x5x5cm Pico-Satellite. This project will build upon prior work and aims to produce a fully-integrated system that will involve multiple actuators in a compound-control configuration.

Different attitude control and stabilisation technologies for satellites exist including: Thrusters, Reaction Wheel Control (RWC), Magnetorquers, Solar Sails and Tethers. All these methods differ in their accuracy, weight, volume and power usage to stabilise/control the attitude of the satellite. This project will evaluate previous work and generate the best solution for the attitude control of the UoMBSat1 given the mass, volume and power limitations it brings.

The use of a compound attitude control system is being considered. The need for a secondary system to aid the primary system, the need for a backup system and the need for de-saturation (for any reaction wheels) is being investigated. The dynamic behaviour of the complete system will then be derived and an iterative approach is likely.

To minimise cost, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components will be used. Since these components are not generally designed for the harsh environment found in space, particular attention will be given to the reliability and testing of the design employed.

This research work is being partly funded by the ENDEAVOUR Scholarship Scheme, which is part financed by the European Union - European Structural and Investment Funds Operational Programme II – Cohesion Policy 2014 – 2020.