2018.B.3.2. DOSO: Demonstration of Self-Organized SmallSats


Siddhant Tandon (1)
Leonardo Facchini (1)

  1. Purdue University, United States of America




SmallSats, Swarm, Demonstration, Maneuver, Docking, Assembly, Reconfiguration


SmallSats are the frames for agile and sophisticated spacecraft technology, and their applications are not limited to single-unit missions in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). A swarm of SmallSats is a promising solution for multidisciplinary missions. It is a self-organized and synchronized network of spacecraft that can empower missions for testing new technologies, enabling diverse scientific missions and exploration of advanced mission concepts. In addition, the swarm concept provides economic development in mission planning and failure mitigation. Projects like AAReST and EDSN have researched the use of cooperative centralized systems to simulate CubeSat docking and assembly in space. The Demonstration Of Self-Organized SmallSats (DOSO) is an undergraduate-run project at Purdue University (USA), which aims to verify that a decentralized SmallSat swarm can precisely follow a high level command while behaving as a single entity. This intelligent entity shall be able to perform advanced flexible maneuvers. The objective is to achieve a small-scale version of the swarm concept on a test bed using floating simulator units, by scaling the orbital mechanics design for six degrees of freedom to three degrees of freedom. Each unit will enable swarm’s flexibility in space by utilizing intelligent and safe navigation algorithms. The units of the swarm assimilate in size, communication and control systems. This design allows to replace a malfunctioning unit with ease. The assembly of swarm’s units into a single entity shall be achieved by docking through control surfaces. Each unit’s control surfaces are spring loaded Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that store collisional energy when docking. The reconfiguration of the entity shall be initiated by the release of stored elastic energy in the spring and will be controlled by the propulsion system installed on each unit. The communication system will consist of Ad-hoc network connectivity over raspberry pi which allows robust intercommunications between the simulators. DOSO provides the basis for improvements in communication and autonomy in space. It is a project that calls for multidisciplinary teams of diverse background in knowledge for development of such advanced spacecraft. It is a beacon for rallying Earth’s brilliant and inspiring teams of engineers to contribute from emerging as well as established space-faring countries.


  • Download the slides in PDF format here (1MB)

%d bloggers like this: