Development of an inertia morphing nanosatellite prototype

Design, analysis and manufacturing of an inertia morphing nanosatellite prototype, capable of controlling a less than 5 seconds periodic Dzhanibekov’s effect.

University Carlos III Madrid (Spain)

The final outcome is a prototype that could be tested in microgravity conditions using parabolic flight, incrementing the TRL of this technology.

The Dzhanibekov’s effect, or tennis racket theorem, is a fast, periodic, controllable and customizable 180 degrees attitude change (obtained when rotation happens around the intermediate inertia axis) that can be used as a passive heat dissipation system or to perform attitude changes in combination with Reaction Wheels in an efficient way.

Inertia control can also allow small satellites to stably spin around a preferred orientation, while maintaining their angular momentum invariant.

The challenge, apart from directly involving 4 students at UC3M, also features the participation of the DZH Dynamics research group, created in the early 2019, with the goal of developing small satellites with inertia morphing properties. A full control of the inertia properties of a solid rigid allows to implement novel attitude control techniques.

Prototype components

Model before and after the inertia morphing performance

model before and after the inertia morphing performance