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Hardware in the Loop Testing of Microsatellite Components

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posted on 24.05.2021, 13:58 by Sarah Hardacre
The desire to bring space travel to a wider range of missions and uses has driven the market to using smaller and thus more affordable satellite systems. The Canadian Space Agency is completing the design and construction of a small satellite named QuickSat, which will utilize a magnetometer as one of its attitude and orbit determination instruments. A test bed comprised of three pairs of Helmholtz coils was used for hardware in the loop testing of the magnetometer. Testing was initially completed to prove the capabilities of the test bed, and then was completed to demonstrate the capabilities of the flight qualified magnetometer. The three pairs of Helmholtz coils were driven by data calculated from a spherical harmonic model of the Earth's magnetic field The coils were controlled using a robust controller and the magnetometer was used to drive the B-dot control law in the QuickSat simulation. The Ryerson Attitude and Control Experiment (RACE), which is a small satellite sized platform, free to spin about one axis on a near frictionless air bearing, was utilized to develop and test a system to deal with redundancy of satellite sensors. The possibility of missing, noisy or erroneous output during flight requires that a filter be applied to a satellite's flight code to determine with accuracy the attitude and orbit of the spacecraft. It was thus decided that a Kalman Filter be applied to RACE. The Kalman filter was applied to the RACE simulation successfully and initial hardware testing was carried out.





Master of Applied Science


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

DJ McTavish Alfred Ng David Golla