The 9th QB50 Workshop – Testing and Our Next Steps

The afternoon focused on explaining key components of the QB50 project and our CubeSats. In addition to some general question-and-answer sessions we had sessions on QB50’s test campaign, on two of the three ESA payloads, and on the Attitude Determination and Control System that we will be using.

QB50’s Precursor Test Campaign has been in orbit for about a year and provides QB50 teams with an idea of how their satellite will behave in low earth orbit. The two satellites, P1 & P2, generate (on average) 2.06W and uses about 1.8W (on average). The software has some stability issues, which may have been caused by an error that occurred during or prior to installation. Despite this, both of the science units (the payloads) are functioning properly.

Our next steps include testing and adjusting our satellite to fit the new requirements.  We’ve done a few tests already, including testing on our boom deployment (images can be found on Facebook) but we have lots left to ensure our satellite will function properly in space. The ADCS is key for this as it balances the satellite while in space. This system works to keep our satellite from spinning for taking stable scientific measurements. Our system includes a Momentum Wheel, a sun sensor, a GPS receiver, a nadir sensor, Torquer rods and Torquer coils. You can learn more about these sensors and how they will contribute to the ADCS we’ll be using here.

Today was certainly a day for learning and many questions we had about the QB50 project were answered. Tomorrow focuses on CubeSat design, launchers and deployers, and Mircopropulsion. In the morning, our project manager, Charles Nokes will be presenting on Thermal Circuit Analysis and how we use that to analyze heat transfer. Stefan Damkjar, our hardware lead, will be doing a presentation on Open Source Cube Satellite Subsystems, including Athena, AlbertaSat’s open-source on board computer. Finally, John Grey, our power system lead, will be giving a presentation on a Kalman Filter Inspired Method for Available Solar Power Prediction and Satellite Load Control.

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