ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
Definition and Sizing of AOCS for NEOMEx Nano-Satellites
Advances in nano and micro-technologies for both space and terrestrial applications over the last decade have provided the potential for highly capable autonomous nano-spacecraft. A number have already been developed and flown; however, to date, most of these have exhibited comparably low performance generally focussing on one technology or instrument. The key source of their performance limitations has been the lack of equipment specifically designed for use on this class of mission and the lack of an underlying flexible system architecture to enable rapid missionisation of the spacecraft bus from a core design and kit of modules. NEOMEx is the programmatic name given to the development of a new modular nano-spacecraft bus (~10 kg in mass) that can be adapted for different types of missions, providing low cost, low mass, rapid development and high flexibility. NEOMEx is also the mission name for a first potential scientific application for such a spacecraft. The NEOMEx spacecraft bus will be based on a modular multifunctional design consisting of a platform design made up of a set of optional and readily replaceable modules or building blocks that enable rapid and simple reconfiguration of the spacecraft bus to suit the varying needs of different missions. The focus of this presentation is the definition and sizing of the AOCS for such a platform, performed as a study funded by ESA. For such an AOCS, the aspect of modularity is a key driver in the selection of the sensors and actuators, the mode architecture and the design of the modes. Commonality of equipment and technologies across the three target platforms is also highly desirable for the purpose of minimising the number of different types of equipment in the kit of parts used to build up each subsystem that allow effective reconfiguration from one mission to the next. The output of the study is considered a significant step on the road to configurable, highly autonomous nano-spacecraft that offer dramatic cost savings for end to end ownership of space assets and act as an enabling technology for types of mission currently too costly to be considered.