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Tabletop Testbed for Attitude Determination and Control of Nanosatellites

Silva, Rodrigo Cardoso da; Guimarães, Fernando Cardoso; Loiola, João Victor Lopes de; Borges, Renato Alves; Battistini, Simone; Cappelletti, Chantal


Rodrigo Cardoso da Silva

Fernando Cardoso Guimarães

João Victor Lopes de Loiola

Renato Alves Borges

Simone Battistini


To simulate the conditions of the space environment at ground, the Laboratory of Application and Innovation in Aerospace Science (LAICA) of the University of Brasília (UnB) is developing a dedicated testbed to reproducing nanosatellite attitude motion. The testbed is composed of an air-bearing table and a Helmholtz cage. The air-bearing table is a spacecraft simulator that can simulate frictionless conditions with three rotational degrees of freedom. Balancing the simulator is essential in order to make the gravitational torque negligible. The testbed is also equipped with a Helmholtz cage to recreate the Earth's magnetic field conditions that spacecrafts encounter in orbit. This paper presents the design and realization of this low-cost testbed. A simple and efficient automated balancing algorithm based on the least-squares method (LSM) is proposed and validated by experiments. The performance of the proposed simulator is evaluated and compared with previous works. © 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2019-01
Journal Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Print ISSN 0893-1321
Electronic ISSN 1943-5525
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 1
Article Number 04018122
APA6 Citation Silva, R. C. D., GuimarĂ£es, F. C., Loiola, J. V. L. D., Borges, R. A., Battistini, S., & Cappelletti, C. (2019). Tabletop Testbed for Attitude Determination and Control of Nanosatellites. Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 32(1),
Keywords Mechanical Engineering; General Materials Science; Civil and Structural Engineering; Aerospace Engineering
Publisher URL
Additional Information This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This material may be found at


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