An attitude control system for the deployment and stabilisation of a tethered dual CubeSat mission

Kearney, Mike-Alec (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The use of electrodynamic tethers on-board satellites is an exciting scientific prospect. These conductive tethers provide the means for satellites to generate power and to do propulsion by electrodynamic interaction with the geomagnetic field. Although well researched in theory, the concept has not enjoyed much success in practice. This study aims to utilise low-cost CubeSats as experimental tool to verify many of the theoretical principles that govern the behaviour of conductive tethers in orbit. The study provides a theoretical background of the concept by evaluating past tether missions and analysing existing theory. A feasible application of an electrodynamic tether within the size and weight limitations of a Nano-satellite is formulated. Existing theoretical work is adapted to model the dynamics and electrodynamics of specifically Nano-satellites. Using these mathematical models, control and estimation algorithms are designed which would provide stable deployment of a tethered CubeSat pair and stable control of the orientation of the tethered system. To be able to implement these algorithms on a satellite mission, a prototype of a sensor capable of measuring the angle of the tether using a CMOS camera is designed and built. A hardware platform is built to test the deployment of the tether using an electric motor. Electronics are designed to control the operation of the camera, to do motor control, and to run control and estimation algorithms. Using the results obtained from the practical tests done on the hardware, and using the theoretical models and control algorithms designed, a full orbital simulation of the deployment was done. This simulation includes the performance of the deployment system, the electrodynamic performance of the tether in earth‟s plasmasphere, and the estimation and control algorithms to control the system. Different deployment strategies are analysed and their performance are compared.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die gebruik van elektrodinamiese toue aanboord satelliete is 'n opwindende wetenskaplike vooruitsig. Hierdie geleidende toue verleen aan die satelliete die vermoë om krag op te kan wek en propulsie deur elektriese interaksie met die geomagnetiese veld te kan doen. Alhoewel dit goed nagevors is in teorie, het die konsep nog nie veel sukses in die praktyk geniet nie. Hierdie studie het dit ten doel om lae-koste CubeSats aan te wend as 'n eksperimentele instrument om baie van die teoretiese beginsels wat geld vir die gedrag van geleidende toue in wentelbane te verifieer. Die studie bied 'n teoretiese agtergrond van die konsep deur die evaluering van vorige tou-missies sowel as die analise van bestaande teorie. 'n Uitvoerbare toepassing van 'n elektrodinamiese tou binne die grootte- en gewigsbeperkinge van 'n Nano-satelliet is geformuleer. Bestaande teoretiese werk is aangepas om die dinamika en elektrodinamika spesifiek van toepassing op Nano-satelliete, te modelleer. Deur hierdie wiskundige modelle te gebruik, is beheer- en afskattingsalgoritmes ontwerp wat stabiele ontplooiing van 'n verbinde CubeSat-paar en stabiele beheer van die oriëntasie van die verbinde stelsel sal verseker. Om hierdie algoritmes te implementeer op 'n satelliet-sending, is 'n prototipe van 'n sensor wat in staat is om die hoek van die tou met behulp van 'n CMOS kamera te meet, ontwerp en gebou. 'n Hardeware platform is gebou om die ontplooiing van die tou met behulp van 'n elektriese motor te toets. Elektronika is ontwerp om die kamera te beheer, motor beheer te doen asook om beheer- en afskattingsalgoritmes uit te voer. Deur gebruik te maak van die resultate wat verkry is tydens die praktiese toetse wat gedoen is op die hardeware, en deur gebruik te maak van die teoretiese modelle en beheeralgoritmes wat ontwerp is, is 'n volle wentelbaan-simulasie van die ontplooiing gedoen. Hierdie simulasie sluit die gedrag van die ontplooiingstelsel, die elektriese gedrag van die geleidende tou in die aarde se plasmasfeer, en die afskatting- en beheeralgoritmes om die stelsel te beheer in. Verskillende ontplooiingstrategieë word ontleed en hul gedrag word vergelyk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80205
This item appears in the following collections: