Design and verification of a university microsatellite attitude determination and control subsystem

Yung Fu Tsai, Chia Yen Chong, Jiun Hao Huang, Ho Nien Shou, Jiun Jih Miau, Jyh Ching Juang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The paper describes the development of a microsatellite attitude determination and control subsystem (ADCS) and verification of its functionality by processor-in-the-loop (PIL) method. The role of ADCS is to provide attitude control functions, including the detumbling and stabilizing the satellite angular velocity, and as well as estimating the orbit and attitude information during the satellite operation. At NCKU, Taiwan, a 30 kg experimental micro satellite named CKUTEX is being developed. For CKUTEX, the operation of the ADCS consists of three modes which are initialization mode, detumbling mode, and normal modes, respectively. During the initialization mode, ADCS collects the early orbit measurement data from various sensors so that the data can be downlinked to the ground station for further analysis. During the detumbling mode, ADCS implements the magnetic control method to decrease the satellite angular velocity. During normal mode, ADCS provides the attitude determination function for the estimation of the satellite state. In the beginning of the ADCS design, Software-in-the-loop (SIL) simulation is used for ADCS design verification. In addition to SIL simulation, a Processor-in-the-loop (PIL) test platform has been set up for the verification test of the designed ADCS hardware. The PIL platform contains a dynamic simulator and a real-time microcontroller, as well as some interfacing circuitry. The dynamic simulator is capable of performing simulation of the space environment, orbit dynamics, attitude dynamics, and sensor/actuator models. The controller/estimator of ADCS is a realization of the embedded microcontroller for attitude determination and control. In this paper, the requirements of CKUTEX ADCS will be briefly reviewed. The design and implementation of CKUTEX ADCS will also be described. Furthermore, the design of the ADCS design can then be verified by the PIL test and the performance of the ADCS can be observed from the simulation results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Aeronautics, Astronautics and Aviation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

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