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MASc. Thesis, Ch. 1 - ADCS Testing Optimizations

Thesis: Design and Test Optimizations for Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control Subsystems


The various advancements to ADCS testing procedures, discussed in this chapter, have already contributed greatly to numerous spacecraft testing campaigns at the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL). Two of the major benefits of the described testing procedure optimizations include a decrease in overall testing time and an increase in hardware throughput. This was achieved through the combined automation and innovation of newly developed hardware and software. The ADCS Testing Tool demonstrates the benefit of an all-encompassing software repository, used to derive various novel ADCS tools for hardware data collection and analysis. The FSS Quadrant Test Rig provides test engineers with the ability to quickly automate and scale the quadrant test stage of FSS functional tests. The ADCS Testing Plate allowed the hardware tests to conform with SFL thermal acceptance protocols, increase hardware testing capabilities, reduced thermal variance between temperature sensors and provides additional functional testing capabilities. Lastly, the RTS calibration plate now supports up to four rate sensors for simultaneous calibration.

Prior to these advancements, a testing campaign consisting of 3 spacecraft’s worth of ADCS hardware required ∼244 cumulative hours to complete, from board creation to AIT. With the combined contributions from all of the described ADCS test procedure optimizations, the same operations can be performed in ∼90 cumulative hours. This yields an overall decrease in required testing time of ∼63%. This allows spacecraft engi- neers at SFL the opportunity to devote this additional time to focus on novel spacecraft innovations, rather than fulfilling hardware testing quotas. As a result, these advancements directly contribute to SFL capabilities of meeting the ever-increasing demand for novel spacecraft design.



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