Publications

Students on the EIRSAT-1 team have shared their results with the scientific community at numerous conferences. Links to these papers can be found below.

David Murphy et al. 2018
Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

EIRSAT-1: The educational Irish research satellite

The Educational Irish Research Satellite, "EIRSAT-1", is a collaborative space project that aims to build, launch and operate the first ever Irish satellite. The EIRSAT-1 spacecraft is a 2U CubeSat incorporating three novel experiment payloads: GMOD, a gamma-ray detector; EMOD, a thermal management coating demonstration; and WBC, an attitude control algorithm. The spacecraft is currently under construction at University College Dublin.

Maeve Doyle et al. 2019
Proceedings of the 3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Flight Software Development for the EIRSAT-1 Mission

The Educational Irish Research Satellite, known as EIRSAT-1, is a student-led project to design, build, test and launch Ireland's first satellite. The on-board software for this mission is being developed using Bright Ascension's GenerationOne Flight Software Development Kit. This paper provides an overview of this kit and of EIRSAT-1's on-board software design. Drawing on the team's contrasting experience with writing entirely custom firmware for the mission's science payloads, this work discusses the impact of using a kit on the software development process. The challenges associated with the educational nature of this project are the focus of this discussion. The objective of this paper is to provide useful information for other CubeSat teams assessing software development options.

Rachel Dunwoody et al. 2019
Proceedings of the 3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Design and development of a 1-axis attitude control testbed for functional testing of EIRSAT-1

The performance of the Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem (ADCS) of a CubeSat relies on consistent and robust inputs from sensors to provide the actuation to manoeuvre and stabilise the satellite orientation in space. This paper details the design and manufacture of a 1-axis motorised testbed to perform pre-flight ADCS functional testing of a nanosatellite based on the CubeSat Standard. This testbed has been developed to support the Educational Irish Research Satellite, EIRSAT-1, a 2U CubeSat being developed in University College Dublin (UCD) as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Fly Your Satellite! (FYS!) Programme. EIRSAT-1 is a student led project to develop, build, test and launch Ireland's first satellite. The project is a collaborative effort of staff and students across a range of disciplines including physics, engineering and maths. The design of the testbed allows all axes of the CubeSat to be tested individually. The design can be adapted easily to accommodate individual subsystem boards, such as an ADCS motherboard, in addition to larger CubeSat sizes, thus making it applicable to other missions. This testbed will be used to fully assess the functionality of the EIRSAT-1 ADCS motherboard, its inertial measurement unit, sun sensors, and magnetorquer actuation, first testing the Engineering Qualification Model (EQM) and then the Flight Model (FM). The testbed allows for polarity and performance checks of the sensors by comparison with known good reference sensor values. A controllable motorised rotating testbed allows for automated testing of the gyroscope and magnetometer. The performance of the five magnetorquers required for actuation is evaluated by an external magnetometer for each actuator. An easily adjustable artificial sun source allows for characterisation of the fine and coarse sun sensors response to change in angle relative to source. The testbed allows the satellite sensor and actuator outputs to be compared pre and post test procedures including ambient, vibrational and environmental test campaigns, in order to confirm full functionality or clearly indicate any issues

Sarah Walsh et al. 2019
Proceedings of the 3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Assembly Integration and Verification Activities for a 2U

CubeSat EIRSAT-1

The Educational Irish Research Satellite, EIRSAT-1, is a project developed by students at University College Dublin that aims to design, build, and launch Ireland’s first satellite. EIRSAT-1 is a 2U CubeSat incorporating three novel payloads; GMOD, a gamma-ray detector, EMOD, a thermal coating management experiment, and WBC, a novel attitude control algorithm. The EIRSAT-1 project is carried out with the support of the Education Office of the European Space Agency, under the educational Fly your Satellite! programme.The Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) plan for EIRSAT-1 is central to the philosophy and the development of the spacecraft. The model philosophy employed for the project is known as the ‘prototype’ approach in which two models of the spacecraft are assembled; an Engineering Qualification Model (EQM) and a Flight Model (FM). The payloads, GMOD and EMOD, and the Antenna Deployment Module(ADM) platform element warrant a Development Model (DM)in addition to an EQM and a FM, as they have been designed and developed in-house. The engineering qualification model serves as both a FlatSat for electrical integration testing and as a representative model for testing of software code, patching and operational decisions during the active mission. The EQM is tested to qualification levels and durations during the environmental test campaign. The flight model contains the flight versions of the payloads, ADM platform element and the procured hardware elements. It undergoes acceptance level testing and it is the final spacecraft to be delivered to ESA for flight.After successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) and Ambient Test Readiness Review (ATRR) phases of the project, the EQM of EIRSAT-1 will be assembled and integrated in University College Dublin. After assembly and integration of the EQM, the project will begin the ambient test campaign, in which the EQM undergoes ambient functional and mission testing. This work details the preparation and execution of the assembly, integration, and verification activities of EIRSAT-1 EQM.

Joseph Thompson et al. 2018
Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Development of a hardware-in-the-loop attitude control simulator for EIRSAT-1, a magnetically actuated 2U CubeSat

This paper describes the design, building and testing of the Antenna Deployment Module (ADM) for EIRSAT-1, a 2U CubeSat being developed under ESA’s Fly Your Satellite programme by a team of students from University College Dublin. The ADM is the only mechanical device on board EIRSAT-1 and its proper functioning is critical to the mission. Although the main ideas are similar to those of commercially available systems, a number of special design features have been incorporated resulting from dissatisfaction with aspects of earlier designs. The paper describes the design, building and proposed testing of the module, and the educational experience in following this path.

Daire Sherwin et al. 2018
2nd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Wave-based attitude control of EIRSAT-1, 2U cubesat

Wave-based control is a relatively new way to design controllers for under-actuated mechanical systems. It has several attractive properties, including robustness to un-modelled system dynamics, robustness to non-ideal actuator behaviour, reduced sensing requirements, and an ability to cope well with system flexibility and resulting vibrations. It has been successfully applied to flexible robots, cranes, and materials handling, for example. But it is also particularly well-suited to space applications, including attitude control of large space structures and debris control using elastic tethers. Currently a wave-based toolbox is being developed under a contract with ESA where the main application is robust control of launchers with significant structural flexibility and sloshing of onboard liquid propellant. It is now planned to have the first in-flight, space-test of wave based control on EIRSAT-1, which is a 2U cubesat being developed underESA’sFlyYourSatellite! programme by a team of students from University College Dublin. With ESA’s significant support, and subject to meeting ESA’s stringent requirements, the project is to design, build, test, launch and operate a satellite with three payload experiments, where wave-based control is the third experiment. The plan is that EIRSAT-1 will use a space-qualified, commercial, off-the-shelf attitude determination and control system for the first part of the mission. Later a command from ground will switch attitude control from the commercial board to wave-based control, to test and evaluate its performance in this application. Because of design constraints, the actuation is by two-axis magnetorquers, which restricts the magnetic dipole to a plane, rather than the preferred 3-dimensional space. Furthermore, the inclination of the ISS orbit means the satellite experiences a continuously changing geomagnetic field. Thus, the space of available control torques is quite limited. Furthermore, the available torque magnitudes are minuscule in the context of the moments of inertia of the 2U cubesat. Extensive computer simulations have been carried out in modelled space environment which predict good performance even within these strong constraints. Changes in attitude are slow, but workable. Shortly hardware testing will begin. A challenge here is that the torque from the magnetic actuators are so small that complete experimental testing on the ground is very challenging.

Victorio Ubeda Sosa et al. 2018
Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Modelling EIRSAT-1 dynamics and actuation to validate and test a novel attitude control system

This works describes a simulation environmentwhich was set up in MATLAB and Simulink to test different attitude control algorithms for the 2U CubeSat EIRSAT-1. The dynamic equations of motion are derived from a quaternion kinematic parametrization, the geomagnetic field is calculated by a spherical harmonics approximation, and disturbance torques are computed from empirical models.

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