Introduction to Nanosatellite Engineering (Experiential Course)
Instructors: Prof. Xun Huang
Target student group: This course will open to senior year students enrolled into the Mechanical and Aerospace course.
Quota: 10 students
This course will introduce the fundamental concepts of CubeSat – a class of nanosatellite with standardized unit size of 10x10x10 cm.
As an experiential course, a number of labs have been prepared with a different focus on orbits dynamics, analysis of control and thermal subsystems. Every student should finish fundamental labs (~2 weeks each) individually, and organize a group, select and complete two advanced lab topics (~3 weeks each).
The course shall offer students with both hands-on experience software simulation and hardware implementation. The topics in this course are introduced with mathematical derivations and case studies. After taking this course, we hope students will understand the fundamentals of satellite engineering and grasp the usage of common engineering design tools, such as MATLAB Aerospace blockset and CubeSat IMU hardware; and therefore gain the capability to attend astronautics related international competitions, such as GTOC in the near future.
1.Mathematics vector manipulation
2.Classical mechanics and electronics
Week 1, Introduction to nanosatellite: specifications and subsystems.
Students split into two groups for lab, and set up lab time with the TA (should minimize the interference of research inside the room).
Week 2, MATLAB basics: numerical computing environment, array manipulation, data visualization.
Lab starts this week.
Week 3 – 4, CubeSat systems: Princeton Satellite Systems CubeSat Toolbox for MATLAB
Ppt for each week?
Week 5 – 6, Orbital mechanics: Keplerian orbits simulation using GMAT (General Mission Analysis Tool)
Week 7 – 12:
W7-W8, 4 lectures introduce each option
- option 1, Space thermal environment: thermal radiations, radiation pressure, and solar power;
- option 2, Control: space debris removal;
- option 3, Orbital mechanics: Halo orbits (three-body systems);
- option 4, CubeSat Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU): strapdown inertial navigation;
Rationale for the course
The philosophy behind this experiential course is to change the existing examination-orientated learning culture into an innovation-nurturing culture. The emphasis on the mathematical derivation accompanied by hands-on implementation is to demonstrate the connections between mathematics and astronautic engineering systems. The message to convey is that their analytical skills obtained in classroom would offer them freedom to create real spaceship engineering systems; hence the necessity to consolidate their analytical skills. This course also aims to stimulate the interests in engineering topics through exposure to nanosatellite technologies. We have prepared a number of interesting lab topics, such as:
1.MATLAB fundamentals (required, basic tool)
2.Orbit dynamics simulation using GMAT (General Mission Analysis Tool) (required, basic tool)
3.Experiential study of CubeSat toolbox (required, basic tool)
4.CubeSat thermal analysis (optional, thermal analysis)
5.Space debris active removal design (optional, control and dynamics)
6.ArduSat hardware study (optional, IMU hardware programming)
1.Mathematics: vector manipulation
2.Classical mechanics: point mass dynamics
3.basic programming skills: MATLAB
4.control theory: system type, space-state systems
Course ILOs (Intended Learning Outcome)
C-ILO1: Introduction to space environment
C-ILO2: State variable models
C-ILO3: Orbit perturbation
C-ILO4: MATLAB programming
C-ILO5: Mathematical derivation from first principle. Identification of factors / parameters which are significant. Making appropriate simplifying assumptions.
C-ILO6: Mathematical modelling of engineering systems.
This experiential course is graded as “A-F”. 50% from the basic 3 labs (during W1-W6) and 50% from the final large project (during W7-W12). TA will evaluate and mark the basic lab reports. Students need to present their large project work in the end of this course and peer review will mark this part.