A Dynamic, Hardware-in-the-Loop, Three-Axis Simulator of Spacecraft Attitude Maneuvering with Nanosatellite Dimensions
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This paper presents the design and development of a nanosatellite-scale spacecraft three-axis simulator (“Cu- beSat Three-Axis Simulator,” or “CubeTAS”), the purpose of which is to enable experimental testing of Attitude Determination and Control Systems (ADCS) and methods for nanosatellites. The CubeTAS test-bed consists of a hollow hemispherical structure containing typical ADCS components of a three-axis stabilized spacecraft, in- cluding the following items: three flight-grade reaction wheels, a sun sensor, an inertial measurement unit, three custom-made magneto-torquer coils, an on-board computer, and a battery. The hemispherical structure and its content float over an air-bearing cup; this enables quasi-frictionless rotation in three degrees of freedom over a large angular displacement.