Satellites for attitude control experiments (AUVSAT)

AUVSAT is a pair of spherical robots actuated by three orthogonal reaction wheels for performing attitude control experiments. The vehicles emulate the motion of formation flying spacecrafts, but are designed to work underwater using neutral buoyancy to emulate the conditions in orbit.

The motivation for building an experimental platform is to provide a set-up for experimental verification of theoretical results on spacecraft formation flying demonstrating the strengths and shortcomings of the theory, and in this way contribute to bridge the gap between theory and practice. ROBOTNOR has several laboratories for experimental verification of marine control systems, and we want to utilize the existing infrastructure when developing the experimental platform for spacecraft formation flying. To this end, we have initiated a project to develop an underwater test facility consisting of two or more autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and three underwater satellites, using an underwater environment and neutrally buoyant vehicles to emulate space.