ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Towards a European MEMS Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) Capability
Durrant, R ; Clerc, Sebastien ; Gonseth, Stefan ; Airey, S
Presented at:
Karlovy Vary 2011
Full paper:

The need for a compact (low power/mass/low volume), European Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) has emerged over the last 10 years to support envisaged future planetary exploration missions; in particular for application areas such as: • Aerobraking • Interplanetary trajectory and burn control • ?ntry, Descent and Landing • Planetary Rovers Navigation An ESA study into the Definition of Accelerometer Needs for IMU was led by Thales Alenia Space (TAS) with support from SEA (2008/2009), providing system level requirements for most of future planetary application areas, and confirming the capability of European terrestrial miniature sensors (eg. MEMS) to realistically meet the requirements of such applications. While compact rate sensors for space applications have already been developed covering the coarse (10 deg/hr) to medium (1 deg/hr) resolution ranges there is currently no compatible accelerometer function to allow a full Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) capability based on European technologies. During 2010 an ESA technology development activity was initiated to address the demonstration of a MEMS accelerometer to fill this gap, with the objective of design, manufacture and characterisation of proof-of-concept prototypes to: • Confirm required performance levels and/or • Identify areas of potential/achievable performance improvement The development is led by SEA who provide the development lead, electrical design activities and characterisation equipment. Colibrys will provide the design and supply of the critical accelerometer prototypes, as well as the full performance characterisation testing. TAS are providing the consolidated requirements specification and system level test evaluation. This paper presents the analysis and derivation of the accelerometer requirements used to drive this technology development. The ongoing accelerometer function design, and its integration into a stand-alone or IMU level space equipment will be described, as well as the planned accelerometer testing/calibration approach.