Since the goal of the RECONSO project is the detection of space debris, the satellite needs to be able to detect its orientation in space and change its orientation to monitor some particular portion of the sky.
The Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) uses an array of sensors to detect the satellite’s attitude (orientation) and movement in 3D space. The sensing system uses a combination of GPS , Sun vector, magnetic field, and optical measurements to give the RECONSO vehicle extremely accurate, real-time pointing knowledge.
This movement and orientation data is fed into the control system onboard the ADCS microcontroller, the brains of the entire subsystem. Given this data, the microcontroller leverages 3 magnetic torque rods to change the orientation of the satellite.
These torque rods are the vehicle’s primary actuators. As it moves through its orbit, the RECONSO satellite is exposed to the Earth’s magnetic field. The torque rods use their own magnetic field to rotate the satellite in any commanded direction.
Using these technologies, ADCS gives RECONSO the ability to damp unwanted rotation rates, orient itself to any position in space, and point at the ground station for communication.
Avionics role is two fold - to interface all the auxiliary hardware from the other subsystems with the main flight computer and to develop the core flight software. AVI's code runs on the main flight computer, the Tyvak Intrepip which runs a custom Embedded Linux Build on a 400MHz AT91SAM9G20 processor. AVI writes code in C and Python, and deals with low level serial communication protocols and embedded Linux development.
The Telecommunications subsystem is responsible for guaranteeing the safe and reliable communication of all satellite payload and operations information to the Georgia Tech Ground Station. In order to increase command and telemetry communications access, RECONSO will transfer data through the Globalstar satellite network and directly from the Ground Station using UHF packet radio
The Electrical Ground Support Equipment, or EGSE is a vital tool for testing the satellite prior to launch, and acts as the link between the users and RECONSO. EGSE allows users on the ground to test the EPS system by charging and discharging the batteries; verify the inhibits; and connect to the flight computer to give commands. EGSE is the tool that the RECONSO team will use to send commands to the satellite and verify all other subsystems are operating as expected, and the connection it provides will be use to (re)program any software after the flight hardware has been integrated into the structure. The EGSE will be the last piece of hardware to see the satellite as it will charge RECONSO's batteries before launch.
The Power subsystem handles all of the power components on the RECONSO cubesat. We have solar panels that make up the exterior of the satellite in order to receive power to sustain the operations of our satellite. We also handle how all of the power is distributed throughout the system and handle any power anomalies that might occur. We are also working and running a simulation model to test how our design will work with the cubesat during orbit. This simulation is a way for us to see how our power storage will fair when the satellite is performing its mission.
The Payload Subsystem is primarily responsible for the camera, lens, and other hardware that will be used to capture images of space objects. The camera that RECONSO will be using is the Nocturn XL CMOS, chosen for its excellent performance in low light environments and low power draw. Attached to the camera will be the Kowa LM60JS5MA, a lens that will offer both a good field of view but also improved detection of dimmer objects. The Payload team is responsible for calibrating these two pieces of hardware so their performance can be accurately analyzed as well as preparing them for the harsh environment of space.
In short, the structures subsystem is responsible for the integration of all components of the satellite while making sure that the frame will hold up to the stresses experienced during launch. It essentially entails making a really cool box. The main focuses of our subsystem are on CAD modeling of all the components of the satellite, making a physical prototype of the frame, and carrying out an analysis of the structural integrity of the entire system. The holistic analysis of the design, prototyping, and testing can then be used to optimize the packaging of the satellite. The skills used by the members of the structures subsystem vary widely. Much of the computational modeling is done with AutoCad, Inventor, Siemens NX, and MATLAB. The physical end, however, entails water cutting, CNC milling, 3D printing, drilling, tapping, and several other skills. The structures subsystem has traditionally been one of the larger subsystems on the RECONSO mission, and therefore strong teamwork and communication skills are a must.
The goal of the thermal subsystem of the RECONSO mission is to ensure that the satellite and its constituent components are configured in a such a way that will allow them to remain within suitable operating parameters while in orbit. To do this, the subsystem team works, in collaboration with all other satellite subsystems, to establish an internal configuration that will make sure all satellite components remain within their suitable temperature range while in orbit. To accomplish this, we gather component and operational data and use them to simulate the satellite in operation, examining the conditions it will be subjected to and making any necessary adjustments. Furthermore, the subsystem is responsible for designing a thermal control system that will be responsible for monitoring the temperatures of satellite components and maintaining them within their optimal operating range during operation.