ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
3-axis Magnetic Control: Flight Results of the TANGO Satellite in the PRISMA Mission
PRISMA implements Guidance, Navigation and Control strategies for advanced formation flying and rendezvous experiments. The project is funded by the Swedish National Space Board and run by the Swedish Space Corporation in close cooperation with DLR, CNES and the Danish Technical University. The PRISMA test bed consists of a fully manoeuvrable MANGO satellite as well as a 3-axis controlled TANGO satellite without any DV capability. PRISMA was launched on the 15th of June 2010 on board DNEPR. The TANGO spacecraft is the reference satellite for the experiments performed by MANGO, either with a cooperative or non-cooperative behaviour. Small, light and low-cost were the keywords for the TANGO design. The attitude determination is based on Sun sensors and magnetometers, and the active attitude control uses magnetic torque rods only. In order to perform the attitude manoeuvres required to fulfil the mission objectives, it was not allowed to use any additional gravity gradient boom to passively stabilize the spacecraft. After a two-month commissioning phase, TANGO separated from MANGO on the 11th of August 2010. All operational modes have been successfully tested, and the pointing performance in flight is in accordance with expectations. The robust Sun Acquisition mode reduced the initial tip-off rate and placed TANGO into a safe attitude in less than 30 minutes. The Manual Pointing mode was commissioned, and the spacecraft demonstrated the capability to follow or maintain different sets of attitudes. In Sun / Zenith Pointing mode, TANGO points its GPS antenna towards zenith with sufficient accuracy to track as many GPS satellites as MANGO. At the same time, it points its solar panel towards the Sun, and all payload equipments can be switched on without any restriction. This paper gives an overview of the TANGO Attitude Control System design. It then presents the flight results in the different operating modes. Finally, it highlights the key elements at the origin of the successful 3-axis magnetic control strategy on the TANGO satellite.