A Redundant Deployment Controller for Small Satellite Experiments
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The prominence of launch costs in the implementation of space flight experiments has fueled the development of small-, mini-, and micro-sats that are tasked with hosting experiment capabilities of increasing complexity. As the deployed size ofexperimental space payloads grows, while holding stowed volume constant, the complexity of the mechanical stowage and deployment schemes increase correspondingly. Traditionally, control of deployment is the responsibility, not of the payload developer,but of the small-sat spacecraft integrator who has responsibility for the space electronics and software that are used to implement the deployment control scheme. As the complexity of deployable payloads increases, however, this traditional division oflabor becomes increasingly problematic.We propose to develop a highly reliable, modular, COTS-based architecture for complex deployment control that can be purchased and integrated by the developer of the deployable payload, thus enabling the developer to assume complete responsibility forimplementation of successful deployment, and simplifying the interface between the deployable structure and its host satellite. Further, by providing a thoroughly engineered deployment control architecture, including key flight electronics hardwarecomponents, much time and money can be saved in the development and validation of the deployment scheme over the traditional, ad hoc approach. Our proposed deployment control architecture realizes substantial benefits for deployable space experiments:Â¿ Reduction of cost and schedule risk associated with the specification and implementation of correct deployment by the payload developer, instead of the spacecraft integrator.Â¿ Much more thorough testing of integrated software, electronics, and structure due to earlier integration at the payload contractor.Â¿ Reduction of cost of development due to the prior engineering of low-level software and electronic elements of deployment control, including qualification testing and documentation.Â¿ Increased responsiveness to and exploitation of evolving space electronic technology due to modularity and standardization of interfaces within the controller, both hardware and software.Â¿ Reduced costs of acquisition for deployed structure due to simpler, cleaner interfaces between the structure and the host payload or spacecraft.Â¿ Clear demonstration during experiments of all necessary systems for deployment, including electronics and software, paving the way for acceptance of experimental hardware in operational systems.In Phase I we propose to demonstrate the feasibility of a network-based, decentralized deployment control system by demonstrating the functionality of the core decentralized components using COTS hardware that is traceable to space, using the PowerSailexperiment as a first application.
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PLANNING SYSTEMS, INC.
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