2017.B.2.1. ESTCube-2 Nanosatellite Attitude Control for Interplanetary Missions


Ikechukwu Ofodile (1)
Hendrik Ehrpais (1)
Johan Kutt (2)
Andris Slavinskis (2)

  1. University of Tartu, Estonia
  2. Tartu Observatory, Estonia




CubeSat, ESTCube-2, High Spin-rate, LQR


This paper presents the design and study of attitude control algorithms for the ESTCube-2/3 missions making use of electromagnetic coils, reaction wheels and cold gas thrusters as actuators. The controllers designed are based on fulfilling the set requirements of the ESTCube-2 mission. The 3U CubeSat is required to spin up for the centrifugal tether deployment for the Plasma Brake experiment. The algorithm designed for this is required to spin the satellite up to 360 deg/s about the X-axis while simultaneously ensuring the alignment of the satellite with Earth’s polar axis. The attitude control system is designed to also satisfy the strict pointing requirement of which a Linear Quadratic Regulator controller (LQR) has been designed with controllability and stability analysis based on linearized satellite dynamics and is being enhanced for tracking making use of the reaction wheels of the satellite. In addition, we present attitude control methods to be tested for the ESTCube-3 which is meant for the lunar orbit applying a combination of reaction wheels and cold gas thrusters for attitude maneuvering. Results based on simulations are therefore presented and analyzed for improved performance.


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