eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
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of the estonian academy of sciences
ISSN 1736-7530 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-6046 (Print)
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Attitude determination and control for centrifugal tether deployment on the ESTCube-1 nanosatellite; pp. 242–249

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/proc.2014.2S.05

Andris Slavinskis, Erik Kulu, Jaan Viru, Robert Valner, Hendrik Ehrpais, Tõnis Uiboupin, Markus Järve, Endel Soolo, Jouni Envall, Tobias Scheffler, Indrek Sünter, Henri Kuuste, Urmas Kvell, Jaanus Kalde, Kaspars Laizans, Erik Ilbis, Tõnis Eenmäe, Riho Vendt, Kaupo Voormansik, Ilmar Ansko, Viljo Allik, Silver Lätt, Mart Noorma


This paper presents the design, development, and pre-launch characterization of the ESTCube-1 Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS). The design driver for the ADCS has been the mission requirement to spin up the satellite to 360 deg × s1 with controlled orientation of the spin axis and to acquire the angular velocity and the attitude during the scientific experiment. ESTCube-1 is a one-unit CubeSat launched on 7 May 2013, 2:06 UTC on board the Vega VV02 rocket. Its primary mission is to measure the Coulomb drag force exerted by a natural plasma stream on a charged tether and, therefore, to perform the basic proof of concept measurement and technology demonstration of electric solar wind sail technology. The attitude determination system uses three-axis magnetometers, three-axis gyroscopic sensors, and two-axis Sun sensors, a Sun sensor on each side of the satellite. While commercial off-the-shelf components are used for magnetometers and gyroscopic sensors, Sun sensors are custombuilt based on analogue one-dimensional position sensitive detectors. The attitude of the satellite is estimated on board using an Unscented Kalman Filter. An ARM 32-bit processor is used for ADCS calculations. Three electromagnetic coils are used for attitude control. The system is characterized through tests and simulations. Results include mass and power budgets, estimated uncertainties as well as attitude determination and control performance. The system fulfils all mission requirements.



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