For the majority of CubeSat missions the payload ADCS requirement is to be 3-Axis stabilized, with the payload pointing nadir or in the flight direction. We have developed a very robust system for achieving this using low-power and a very compact bundle of hardware components. This unit has been refined through flight experience, and this second generation Y-Momentum bundle is truly the ADCS ‘sweet spot’ for CubeSats. ​

The standard components included in this bundle are:

  • CubeComputer: Radiation tolerant OBC
  • CubeControl: Sensor and actuator interface board + 3-Axis Gyro
  • CubeWheel Small: Small momentum wheel mounted in the Y-Axis
  • 10x Coarse Sun Sensors: Sun-sensitive photodiodes
  • 2x CubeTorquer Rods + 1x CubeTorquer Coil
  • 1x CubeMag: Deployable 3-Axis magnetometer
  • Compiled ADCS Control Program (ACP): Program running on CubeComputer

Optional extras include :

  • Redundant magnetometer: Non-deployable type
  • CubeSense: Fine Sun and Earth sensor
  • Upgrade to CubeWheel Medium (not mountable on CubeControl)
  • Upgrade to CubeWheel Large (not mountable on CubeControl)
  • Unlock CubeComputer: Enables user to use Computer as OBC
  • Software Support: Hourly support for custom firmware

Typical application

The Y-Momentum bundle is used for missions where sub 1 degree pointing is not necessarily needed, but a 3-axis stable system is required. Examples of such missions are general Earth observation missions, scientific missions where the payload must be pointed in the velocity direction, and communication missions. This ADCS unit provides the functionality to detumble a satellite into a stable spin and then to absorb the rotation of the satellite into a momentum wheel. This momentum wheel provides good disturbance rejection which makes it possible to further keep the satellite 3-axis stable using magnetic control. The satellite can do pitch manoeuvres in the orbital plane by controlling the momentum wheel’s speed. This is particularly useful for imaging missions and ground station tracking in communication missions. For any other mission, ground station communications can be improved by doing tracking at least in the pitch direction. The OBC of the ADCS unit can be unlocked to act as both ADCS and main OBC. This allows the user to save space inside the satellite by eliminating the need for a main OBC.

For more information, contact us at info@cubespace.co.za.

The typical ADCS capabilities of the satellite are: