Attitude Determination & Control

Lead: Sebastian Gasche

The ADC subsection focuses on configuring and managing the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for TRACE. Through the integration of these systems, we are able to determine the orientation and position of TRACE, enabling mission-critical maneuvers tailored to specific mission phases with high accuracy. Furthermore, depending on the current mission phase, the ADCS controls the orientation of TRACE to perform mission-critical maneuvers, e.g. pointing of an experimental payload towards a desired target/direction, or orientation adjustments for optimal battery charging or communication conditions.

What is an ADCS?

The ADCS plays a pivotal role in CubeSat missions by managing the satellite’s orientation in space. Using sensors like gyroscopes, magnetometers, or sun/eart/star sensors, the ADCS determines the satellite’s attitude, while actuators such as reaction wheels, magnetorquers, or thrusters adjust its orientation. This system is crucial for achieving mission objectives, ensuring accurate data collection, precise maneuvering, and effective communication.

The incorporation of a GNSS further elevates the ADCS’s functionality. By leveraging signals from satellite constellations like GPS, GNSS enhances position determination accuracy, contributing to more precise attitude determination. This integration is particularly beneficial for CubeSats involved in Earth observation or navigation missions, ensuring optimal performance and mission success.



Current projects

At present, we are finalizing the configuration of a comprehensive 3-axis ADCS system for TRACE to meet all mission requirements. Additionally, a MATLAB-based simulation software is under development to test and validate self-developed control algorithms. This ensures their effectiveness and stability before implementation in TRACE’s final operation phase. Lastly, we are developing software to process the received GNSS data to determine TRACE’s position in orbit.

Future projects

Looking ahead, we aim to revitalize our in-house ADCS development series. This involves researching diverse actuators and sensors to determine their compatibility and viability for small-budget CubeSat projects. We will propose a recommended composition of sensors and actuators. Moreover, we actively seek ADCS-related missions, such as experimental actuators or sensors.

Got interested?

If you find the tasks and responsibilities of our ADC subsection intriguing, join a meetings on our Discord server. For further inquiries, feel free to contact TRACE ADC, the subsection leader of the ADC team.