KY EPSCoR: Reaction Beams for Orientation Control of Small Satellites

Grants and Contracts Details


The objective of this research is to conduct experiments to evaluate the feasibility of a new actuation system for orientation control of small satellites. The actuation system consists of arrays of piezoelectric reaction beams, which are mounted to control three axes of rotation. The reaction beams are actively controlled to produce relatively small angular oscillations of the satellite about each of the three body-fixed axes. Noncommutative actuation sequences are used to control arbitrarily large changes in angular orientation. Reaction beams have several benefits compared with more conventional actuation systems, such as reaction wheels and magnetic torque coils, and our initial research indicates that this new actuation technology also satisfies performance requirements. This research is intended to increase the technology readiness level of this orientation actuation system by experimentally demonstrating performance. For this research, a cubesat will be outfitted with reaction beams, and we will demonstrate orientation control about a three axes. If successful, the cubesat will be used in later projects to conduct space flight experiments.
Effective start/end date3/1/142/28/15


  • KY Council on Postsecondary Education


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