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Prototyping of a Star Tracker for Pico-Satellites
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Attitude control is an essential subsystem of most spacecraft buses, therefore attitude determination plays a very important role as it is the feedback system for any closed-loop attitude control system. Of all attitude determination sensors star trackers are usually the most accurate ones. Unfortunately, the star trackers usually used on classical, large spacecrafts are too big, heavy and power hungry. For pico-satellites, which can only carry a limited amount of volume and mass and provide only limited power, these sensors obviously cannot be used. Consequently, miniaturized star trackers have been developed in recent years, but so far the available star trackers are not sufficiently miniaturized to be feasible for the use on pico-satellites, including STELLA, a miniaturized star tracker developed at the University of Würzburg. Therefore, further miniaturization is necessary, which is why the University of Würzburg is active on the research of star trackers for small satellites. A first prototype for a new star tracker for pico-satellites, called PicoStar, has been developed in the scope of this thesis. Using a simpler system design and new image sensors, its volume could be reduced by two-thirds and the mass by about half compared to STELLA. The expected performance is kept reasonably. There is still room for further reduction of the power consumption, as it is currently up to 30% higher than required. As this Master thesis focuses on the implementation of the embedded system and the optimization of the software of the star tracker, the prototype is not finalized. So far, the star tracker algorithm has been implemented and the attitude determination is running. First test results have shown that the next steps in the PicoStar development, among other things, have to be further calibration and testing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, star tracker, star sensor, pico satellite, cubesat, attitude determination
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-41922Local ID: 000df51b-d61f-40e0-960d-32e758ab78c0OAI: diva2:1015137
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20151109 (global_studentproject_submitter)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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