Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS)

Lead: Hanjo Schnellbaecher

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 operations. The team currently consists of roughly seven active members and commenced its work in late October 2018.

What is ADCS about?

The CubeSats design and in particular its mission imply desired orientations during maneuvers as well as dictate the satellites attitude towards the earth and the sun during the satellite’s lifetime. To do that and in addition for validation purposes measurements of the satellites attitude and subsequently the propagation of such into a predicted orbit are also the duties of the ADCS system. The goal of our subsection is to develop and calibrate a setup of sensors and actuators that suffices those operational requirements. These components will then be further modelled and tested in soft- and hardware. ADCS is crucial for our CubeSat as it is to some degree vital for the CubeSats survival and profoundly influence the mission return.

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 each operation. Position and Orbit Determination has the task to measure the position and model the orbit. Since there are a few disturbances and environmental influences in LEO this process must be repeated regularly.

Current projects

We are currently wrapping up the initial system design, are commencing in-depth component research and are working towards the first validation by simulation. Therefor tasks include the examination of the selected components on operations and their specifications for promising COTS parts, which will then be integrated into our simulation. Provided with suiting algorithms and a proper simulation environment we can validate our ADCS system and then proceed to hardware design and testing.
This may sound daunting, however all these tasks are distributed over several key roles and will be tackled by the entirety of the ADCS-team. We have many tasks and at least one for every level of engagement. If you’re looking for something suiting your set of skills you should check the open calls!

Got interested?

If you are enticed by the tasks and responsibilities of ADCS, then visit us during our weekly meetings on Monday starting at 6:00pm 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.