Attitude Control on TET-1 - Experiences from the First Year of Operations
SpaceOps 2014 Conference
The micro-satellite TET-1 carries several technology experiments. It is the first in a series offering the possibility of in-orbit verification of new equipment made in Germany by the industrial and scientific aerospace community. TET-1 was launched 22nd July 2012 and is operated by the German Space Operations Center. Attitude and attitude control is influenced by several of the experiments. Special attitude control modes are required for a number of experiments in order to point the satellite
... oint the satellite in a prescribed direction or to a specific location on Earth. These comprise an experiment with three infra-red cameras, a pico thruster and finally a new type S-band transponder. The Li Polymer battery was not expected to have any effect on attitude control. However, it was discovered that charging and discharging the battery disturbs the magnetic field sensors, thus a different approach to attitude control is required when it is in use. Implementation of and special demands on the attitude control system for these experiments will be presented. The mission is experimental with high demands on the attitude control system. The envisaged duration was one year only with a possible prolongation of a further year. Components were therefore not chosen for longevity. However, the actual amount of disruptions due to sensor and/or actuator outages and due to idiosyncrasies in the spacecrafts thermal budget was higher than expected. The ensuing challenges for the attitude control system will be discussed. A software upload in May 2013 mitigated several of the issues addressed above. The improvements in the software and autonomous on-board reactions will be presented in the final Section together with some recommendations for the follow-on missions TET-2 and BIROS.