TORC: Modular CMG Technology for Small Satellites

Award Information
Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Honeybee Robotics
460 West 34th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY, -
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Kiel Davis
 VP, Engineering
 (646) 459-7809
Business Contact
 Chris Chapman
Title: President
Phone: (646) 459-7802
Research Institution
Micro and nano satellites continue to play an increasing role in future military applications. New mission scenarios are driving the need for higher agility and thus for new actuators capable of meeting the higher torque requirements. In Phase 1, Honeybee Robotics developed a mature concept for a high torque, low power CMG-based attitude control actuator called TORC (Tiny Operationally Responsive CMG) for small satellites with challenging jitter requirements. Smaller and less power hungry, TORC actuators outperform reaction wheels by 1-2 orders of magnitude. In Phase 2, Honeybee proposes to build and test a number TORC EDU’s to quantify torque output, jitter, power and their potential to meet the life requirement. A state-of-the-art nanosatellite test facility at Naval Postgraduate School will be used to characterize the TORC modules. BENEFIT: TORC is a modular high torque, low power CMG-based technology with the following benefits: • CMG Array Customization – The TORC module mechanical and electronic designs allow for the “customer” to configure the array of their choice (e.g., Box 90, Skew, Scissored Pairs, Roof) depending on their momentum envelope needs and other requirements (e.g., fault tolerance). • Flexible Packaging in Bus – Because the TORC modules are separate entities they can be placed just about anywhere where there’s room in the bus (provided certain structural interface requirements are met). This gives system designers more flexibility. It is important to note that nothing about the design precludes assembling modules on a common frame and delivering as an integrated unit. • Self Contained, Swappable Modules – The self contained TORC modules are easily installed and replaced if necessary. This can be an advantage in that it can mean fewer delays during AI&T if there are problems or something is damaged and also a smaller inventory is necessary since modules would be interchangeable. • Extensible (Scalable) – If more torque (momentum) is required, the controller design allows more TORC modules to be seamlessly added in parallel to effectively double, triple, etc. the capacity of or add redundancy to the CMG array.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government