Development of attitude controllers and actuators for a solar sail cubesat

Mey, Philip Hendrik (2011-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: CubeSats are small, lightweight satellites which are often used by academic institutions due to their application potential and low cost. Because of their size and weight, less powerful attitude controllers, such as solar sails, can be used. In 2010, the Japanese satellite, Ikaros, was launched to illustrate the usage of solar sails as a propulsion system. Similarly, by exploiting the solar radiation pressure, it is possible to use a solar sail, together with three magnetorquers, to achieve 3-axis attitude control of a 3-unit CubeSat. Simulations are required to demonstrate the attitude control of a sun-synchronous, low Earth orbit CubeSat using a solar sail. To allow the adjustment of the solar sail, and its resulting torque, a mechanical structure is required which can be used to position the sail within two orthogonal axes. Although the magnetorquers and solar sail are sufficient to achieve 3-axis attitude control, the addition of a reaction wheel can be implemented in an attempt to improve this control.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: CubeSats is klein, ligte satelliete wat dikwels deur universiteite gebruik word weens hul lae koste en groot toepassings potensiaal. As gevolg van hulle gewig en grootte, kan minder kragtige posisie beheerders, soos byvoorbeeld sonseile, gebruik word. Die Japannese satelliet, Ikaros, was in 2010 gelanseer om die gebruik van ’n sonseil as aandrywingstelsel te illustreer. Net so is dit moontlik om die bestraling van die son te gebruik, met behulp van ’n sonseil, en drie magneetstange om 3-as posisiebeheer op ’n 3-eenheid CubeSat te bekom. Simulasies word benodig om die posisie beheer van ’n sonsinkrone, lae-aard wentelbaan CubeSat met ’n sonseil te demonstreer. ’n Meganiese struktuur word benodig vir die posisionering van die sonseil in twee ortogonale asse sodat die sonseil, en dus die geassosieerde draaimoment, verskuif kan word. Alhoewel die magneetstange en sonseil voldoende is om 3-as posisiebeheer te bekom, kan ’n reaksiewiel bygevoeg word om hierdie beheer te probeer verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6862
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