Versatile Attitude Control Actuators for Sub-Milliarcsecond Precision Pointing, Phase I

Metadata Updated: February 28, 2019

Growing scientific and practical needs exist for precision spacecraft pointing at milliarcsec (mas) levels. Present state-of-the-art reaction wheels, or similar, actuators introduce vibrational jitter and can ultimately drive pointing error. Busek electrospray thrusters aboard the ESA LISA Pathfinder mission have recently demonstrated nm scale position control. The proposed system will provide vibration-free sub-mas pointing control through integration of follow-on innovations and new deployable boom technologies. Recent thruster innovations have dramatically increased maximum thrust, while retaining control resolution, and reduced propellant loads through increased specific impulse. These gains will be applied in this work to replace reaction wheel actuators for both precision control and slew maneuvers. Accordingly, actuator induced vibrations are virtually eliminated while body pointing will be dramatically improved; resulting in major reductions in ACS SWaP and in the complexity of vibration compensating controllers/active sensors. With applications to, for example, observation and laser communication missions these benefits would both enable high-capability but reduced cost spacecraft and pave the way for new, presently, unobtainable levels of control authority on large spacecraft. Phase I will emphasize acquisition and analysis of precision thrust control measurements using the BET-1mN thruster-head which, uniquely, can be operated in either a high thrust, low Isp, or low thrust, high Isp configuration. The associated complex performance map will be analyzed in the context of highly quiescent ACS needs. These data will then be applied to define necessary control, circuitry and mechanical requirements needed to realize the full-attitude control potential of the technology. A conceptual system level design performed in collaboration with ROCCOR will outline strategies to overcome required developments and produce a complete system demonstration in Phase II.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_93829
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 5ea493ca-49cb-4673-bc39-87dc3c5eb7e6
Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2017-12-01
Homepage URL
Data Last Modified 2018-07-19
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 52f9a711f1f8b5155cdddda270581997a3749dce
Source Schema Version 1.1

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.