2012.P.1.6 Active Pointing, on a Budget


Aaron Goldstein (1) and Chris Kady (1)

  1. Sun Devil Satellite Laboratory


P.1 – Poster Session



Interplanetary travel, much like early earth exploration, is an advent that produces not only tremendous public interest but ground breaking technology as well. The capability of active pointing on a CubeSat is an essential part of an interplanetary mission, however cost and design work can be difficult to overcome. Using modern simulation and design methods to implement a control scheme, we present a 3u CubeSat with the capabilities of pointing to within +/- 0.2 degrees bore-sight, with body rate control by implementing momentum wheel and magnetic torque rod actuation. The active sensory and actuator system is expected to cost around $100,000, which is considerably lower than satellites of a similar pointing accuracy commercially available. Much of the cost incurred in the production of an attitude control subsystem (ACS) is in engineering costs related to design, simulation and testing. Using modern computational techniques, this process can be largely simplified, and easily repeated. Through the development of an accurate and inexpensive active pointing system, interplanetary CubeSat travel is made more accessible.




  • Optional paper not submitted

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