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 & Polytechnic University of Madrid (UC3M & UPM, 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 students from UC3M and UPM, 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.

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Prototype components

Model before and after the inertia morphing performance

model before and after the inertia morphing performance