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Attitude Determination and Control Systems (ADCS)

The ADCS-Subsection concerns itself with the determination of the position and attitude of the CubeSat and the adjustment of its orientation during mission-critical maneuvers. The team currently consists of roughly eight active members and commenced its work in late October 2018

What is ADCS about?

The position of a satellite is determined by the orbit and the attitude by the rotation around the center of mass of the satellite. The rotation around the center of mass can be manipulated by actuators. To determine the movement of the satellite sensors are required. The goal of our subsection is to develop and calibrate a setup of sensors and actuators that suffices our mission requirements. These will then be further modelled and tested in soft- and hardware. ADCS is crucial for our CubeSat, to guarantee the correct orientation of the antenna to the ground station during flyovers.

The subsystems of ADCS

ADCS consists of three synergetic subsystems: Attitude Determination, Attitude Control and Position and Orbit Determination.
Attitude Determination concerns itself, as the name implies, with the determination of the attitude of the CubeSat. For this purpose, a variation of sensors is used, e.g. sun-sensors or magnetometers, to examine the orientation reliably and accurately.
Attitude Control covers the active or passive attitude-regulation by either respectively magnetorquer or permanent magnets for example. This serves to correct environmental influences (atmosphere, earths magnetic field…), as well as to achieve the desired orientations for the antenna.
Position and Orbit Determination has the task to model the current orbit and predict the position. It is also necessary to regularly verify the CubeSats position either by Ranging or Radar through ground infrastructure or autonomously by a GNSS-chip since there are a few environmental influences in LEO.

Current projects

Right now we are in design phase, covering the conception of a complete ADCS-System to cover all mission requirements. In order to achieve that we are investigating various different actuators and sensors and discuss their compatiblity and viability for our CubeSat and later propose at least one composition of sensors and actuators.
Additionally we are always on the look out for potential ADCS-related mission like experimental actuators.

Got interested?

If you are enticed by the tasks and responsibilities of ADCS, then visit us during our weekly meetings on Tuesdays starting at 5:00pm on our Discord server in the voice-channel cs_adcs. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the subsection leader of the ADCS team, Hanjo Schnellbächer.