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Title: Survey, Design, and High-Altitude Testing of Novel CubeSat Earth Horizon Sensors
Authors: Tong, Kevin
Advisors: Galvin, Michael B
Stone, Howard A
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Certificate Program: Robotics & Intelligent Systems Program
Class Year: 2022
Abstract: Determining the attitude, or pointing direction, of a spacecraft is imperative in its ability to operate according to mission goals. This principle applies even to small spacecraft or those with passive attitude stabilization systems, which will need a method of confirming the orientation of the spacecraft at all times. This thesis aims to support the ”Princeton TigerSats Lab’s CubeSat development by designing, simulating, iterating on, and validating an Earth horizon sensor for the spacecraft. The horizon sensor will validate the passively stabilizing gravity boom on the spacecraft after the deployment of the system by monitoring the location of Earth’s horizon from Low Earth Orbit. Sensor design aimed to minimize volume, mass, and power requirements in support of the TigerSats initiative goal of developing a student-accessible and minimal-cost 1U CubeSat. For this project, testing on a wide variety of candidate sensors was conducted first on the ground and then be followed by verification via a high-altitude balloon launch to down-select the final sensor in preparation for the future integration of the chosen sensor onto a PC104 PCB card for satellite integration. Major components of this project include an overview of current Earth horizon sensors for spacecraft applications, the creation of synthetic scenes using the Systems Tool Kit's Electro-optical Infrared package, the selection of candidate sensors for further testing, the design and manufacture of a high-altitude balloon payload, the launch and recovery of the high-altitude balloon, and the analysis of data recovered from the balloon payload.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2022
Robotics and Intelligent Systems Program

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