A cost-effective solution for new-generation observation and science missions. The demand for agile satellites has increased considerably over the last few years, be it for commercial or military applications, Earth observation, astronomy, optical instruments or radar payloads. Even for small satellites, when it comes to providing a high output torque (above 0.5 Nm typically) at reasonable mass, power consumption and cost, reaction wheels are no match for small Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMGs). Airbus DS and Rockwell Collins Deutschland now offer the CMG 15-45S (15 Nms, 45 Nm Standard), a compact, high performance CMG optimized for small satellites. CMGs have been known for decades, but used to be considered difficult to operate owing to singularities during satellite manoeuvres (except by over-sizing the momentum capacity). Recent developments in guidance algorithms to suppress singularities now means that the full capacity of the CMG cluster can be exploited, minimizing the momentum demand for each CMG. With four CMGs of only 15 Nms, it is now possible to set a satellite in the one tonne class at more than three degrees per second in less than two seconds. Such a low momentum demand off ers many advantages compared to a conventional over sized solution: the equipment is more compact and performances are improved. Both the equipment and its electronics have been designed for series production to minimize recurring costs. The wheel is based on Teldix core technologies and the gimbal mechanism uses standard components from European manufacturers quali ed by CNES and ESA. The electronics are based on an ASIC running at high frequency and a MIL 1553 data bus interface. The components are assembled in an optimized architecture that minimizes the volume and the mass. The CMG can be mounted on a single base plate with a minimal footprint and no additional hardware is required to install the equipment. The CMG 15-45S integrates easily into small satellites of one tonne or even less. This compact architecture, which has been patented by AIRBUS DS, has been retained for our mini and medium CMGs.
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Last updated: 2019-07-17