2015.B.4.3. Early Stage Development of Dynamic Simulation Platform For Reaction Wheels Controlled Cubesat Model


Ryan Fadhilah Hadi (1)
Rianto Adhy Sasongko (1)
Ridanto Eko Poetro (1)

  1. Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia




CubeSat, Simulation Platform, ADCS, Attitude Control, Spacecraft Dynamic, HILS


In the last decade, the trend in utilizing Cubesat as research and commercial purposed spacecraft has significantly increased. Until 2014, there are around 300 Cubesats that have successfully been deployed or already achieved its mission objectives. Yet, it is still considered as costly technology, as well as the way to launch it into orbit – $10,000 to build and around $100,000 to launch. By looking at these facts, the design process of Cubesat has to be considered much to eliminate the risk of failure.
One of the crucial subsystems that have to be designed well regarding Cubesat’s mission which are commonly for earth observation and technology demonstration is the Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem (ADCS). The ability of Cubesat to control itself to a specific desired attitude is the key in achieving the mission objective. The limitations of space and power inside the Cubesat also have to be taken into account. Therefore, the performance of ADCS has to be arranged at its best. This condition can be achieved by having a simulation process.

In supporting the simulation process, a simulation platform is developed. The simulation platform which consists of cubesat model with its subsystems, inertia platform to support it, and system to support Hardware in Loop Simulation (HILS) is intended to simulate the attitude control performance of the Cubesat model. The simulation platform is also can be used to show the dynamic phenomenon (e.g: gyroscopic phenomenon) for academic purposes. Even though, the simulation platform still has several limitations such as friction and effect of gravity gradient.

In this early stage, the ADCS and On-Board Computer (OBC) is simplified by replacing it with microcontroller, the actuators that are used are modified brushless DC motors to mimic the actual reaction wheels, and the HILS system is achieved by using combination of MatLab & SimuLink through serial communication. The process ends with having several case studies to be evaluated.

This paper discusses the early stage of development process of the simulation platform with objectives to design, manufacture, and evaluate the simulation platform, and to be able to run an open loop simulation of the designed model. In the future, this platform can be used to simulate particular mission as case study, and to assess the performance of designed ADCS.


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  • Download paper in PDF format here (<1MB)

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