Enhanced Spacecraft Attitute Determination and Control System Test Bed for Small Satellites

T. Sorensen
University of Hawai`i at Manoa, United States

Keywords: small satellites, satellite testing, satellite attutide determination and control

The Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) has developed state-of-the-art small satellite integration and test facilities including clean rooms, thermal vacuum chamber, vibration/shock table, spin table, and an operations test bed. Our latest DURIP grant was to acquire a Star Field Simulator to enhance the Attitude Determination and Control System Test Bed (ADCSTB) procured through a 2012 DURIP grant. The star field simulator will dynamically stimulate star trackers during ground testing. The enhanced system will become significantly more useful to the DoD by making it applicable to a wider range of satellites and satellite attitude determination sensors, and new areas of research. Nearly all DoD satellites today use star trackers as their primary sensor for attitude determination, and the lack of the equipment to test and use the star tracker severely limits the future usefulness of the ADCSTB to DoD. The enhanced ADCSTB will be of great benefit to DoD for the testing of satellites, research into attitude determination and control topics including autonomy, supporting the technology being developed to benefit the warfighter, and education of students for work force development. HSFL recently completed a contract to test the ADCS of a CubeSat for the Navy’s SSC (SPAWAR).