Aerostability for low altitude flying CubeSats

Josep Virgili, Peter Roberts, Stephen Hobbs, Jennifer Kingston

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Aerostability can provide a simple, robust and passive method to control the attitude of a low altitude flying (<500 km) CubeSat. In this novel method, aerodynamic surfaces and viscous or magnetic dampers are used to control the CubeSat attitude with an accuracy of few degrees with respect to the relative flow. The different design parameters, such as the aerodynamic surfaces or the damping properties are discussed and a parametric analysis of those parameters against altitude is included. Finally, the implementation of the ΔDSat CubeSat aerostable design is discussed. ΔDSat features 4 aerodynamic surfaces that act as fins and provide the aerodynamic torque. For damping the rates and achieve stability a magnetic damping system is used. In this case, the 2U CubeSat is capable of maintaining a flow-pointing attitude with an accuracy of 1.5º at 320 km with respect to the relative flow.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication2nd IAA Conference on University Satellite Missions and Cubesat Workshop
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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