Recently, ESA’s AOCS & Pointing Systems Section (TEC-SAA) located at ESA ESTEC, contracted Space Inventor to design and produce an integrated ADCS solution to be used in ESA’s air bearing testbed setup.
Space Inventor’s attitude and orbit determination and control solutions are comprised by our wide range of high-performance, rugged and modular AOCS avionics products. The range of modules spans from very small cubesat reaction wheels to large reaction wheels for satellites up to several hundred kilograms. Furthermore, we manufacture a best-in-class star tracker, integrated fine sun sensors, magnetorquers, GPS modules, ADCS computers and software which we use to configure tailored ADCS and AOCS solutions for both simple cubesats and highly advanced science satellites.
Screenshot of the results from an ADCS simulation over 25 orbits. The graphs show both the output from simulated sensors as well as the determination error, control signals and orbit information
Space Inventor’s AOCS software operates on a dedicated AOCS computer or any OBC on the internal satellite network. To achieve the best possible attitude and orbit determination, the AOCS software employs sensor fusion that uses the available sensors at any given time. The software provides a number of different pointing modes, stabilization options as well as continuous and periodic momentum dumping. The ability to simultaneously execute two different pointing modes allows the controller to track two prioritized locations concurrently. This provides the unique ability to point a payload to a fixed target while keeping solar panels directed towards the sun. The software is integrated with database logging as well as powerful visualization both in real time and for historic data analysis.
This video shows a live polar plot output from an ADCS simulation running at 6000 times real-time!
The software has its own integrated AOCS simulator, which improves the implementation reliability by enabling testing of new algorithms in situ both with and without sensors and actuators in the loop. Additionally, running a simulation with all the hardware in the loop means it uses the actual satellite network with any possible effects that this has on the real time control system. The simulator can also run on a PC at more than 10,000 times real-time giving AOCS and systems engineers a powerful tool for further analysis and mission profile synthesis before the solution is deployed on the spacecraft.
The ESA ADCS solution is designed very compact in order to be integrated in ESA’s air bearing testbed setup to perform various experiments and tests of algorithms. The ADCS solution for ESA includes 4 reaction wheels, 2 fine sun sensors, 3 magnetorquers, GPS module to carry out advanced pointing modes and the possibility to simulate a star tracker. The software includes the embedded AOCS simulator, TMTC GSE software and the option of using MatLab with real-time ‘in-the-loop’ connectivity for easy testing of algorithms.