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Attitude Determination with Failure Tolerant Sensor Arrays Suitable for Nanosatellites
Citation key Binder.2017.IAA.ADCS
Author Binder, Matthias and Yoon, Zizung and Briess, Klaus
Title of Book 11th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation
Year 2017
Location Berlin
Journal 11th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation
Abstract Due to the ongoing miniaturization within spaceborn technology, more complex payloads demanding for precise attitude information will be used on small, especially nanosatellite and picosatellite platforms. Since payload miniaturization is mainly driven by overall mission cost reduction, the corresponding satellite bus development must be a basic part of this design philosophy. Using low cost COTS sensor technology for space application can be risky due to quality and environmental specification issues, but controllable by testing and redundancy usage. COTS- and especially MEMS- sensor technology enables engineers to develop accurate and highly available low cost attitude determination systems for small satellite applications. By accommodating these low-cost sensors into arrays, broad synergy effects can be achieved: sensor availability and accuracy will be improved, whereas hardware cost still can be kept low. Another benefit is scalability. The sensor count can be easily adopted to different mission needs. This involves instant in-mission scaling as well as mission-to-mission scaling. This sensor concept will be demonstrated and verified on the nanosatellites of the S-NET mission. S-NET is a constellation of four nanosatellites demonstrating S-band inter-satellite communication and will verify communication protocols capable of handling a variety of network topologies. The attitude determination of S-NET nanosatellites is based on two magnetometer arrays, two sun sensor arrays and two gyroscope arrays. Each sensor array is processed by a dedicated array driver that will expose all obtained sensor measurements as one single sensor to the subsequent attitude determination processes aboard the satellite. Software algorithms were implemented to overcome different scenarios of sensor array failures and measurement distortion. These algorithms provide an additional virtual redundancy to the attitude determination of the S-NET satellites. All satellites are equipped with a unique pattern of retro reflectors for high precision laser ranging this will help to verify attitude determination calculated by onboard algorithms. In this paper an overview of the sensor array based attitude determination of the S-NET satellites is presented. The redundancy concept and the according software redundancy management is explained. Focus is given to the sensor fusion paths derived by combination of sensor arrays and software implemented virtual redundancy mentioned above.
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