Development of an Autonomous Redundant Attitude Determination System for Cubesats

Ricardo O Duarte, Samuel R C Vale, Luiz S Martins-Filho, Fernando E Torres


This work deals with the problem of the design of an autonomous redundant system for the attitude determination of nanosatellites. The system consists of a circuit board equipped with three microcontrollers, a magnetic field sensor in three axes, and complementary commercial-of-the-shelf (COTS) components and connectors to provide data signal exchange the vehicle on-board computer. The main goal of this system, named SDATF (of the acronym in Portuguese Sistema de Determinação de Atitude com Tolerância a Falhas), is to provide autonomously the vehicle attitude from the information collected from the onboard computer (OBC) and the magnetometer. The adopted attitude determination algorithm is based on the well-known QUEST method, and the goal of this system is to get accurate attitude computations to low-orbit CubeSat satellites using COTS electronic components, and to provide highly reliable data and high availability levels using fault tolerance tools to avoid the harmful consequences of spatial radiation and its faults known as single event upsets (SEU). The article presents the general design of the fault-tolerant systems and experimental tests using bit flip injection methodology.


Artificial satellites; Attitude control; Embedded software; Fault tolerance; State estimation

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