The facility supports activities for the development of AOCS sensors and actuators: star trackers, Active Pixel Sensors (APS), sun sensors, gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers, magnetic torquers, etc.
The facility provides the opportunities for early prototyping, characterization, and testing in relevant environment (dynamic, thermal) of new AOCS sensors. This supports the de-risking of industry developments. Additionally, the lab allows the benchmarking of European developments with non-European equipment on a common test bench. Finally, hardware anomaly investigations and the preparation of flight demonstrators are also supported.
Hardware development activities under ESA’s technology programmes (such as GSTP) have supported by the GNC and AOCS sensors test facility, such as: the Faintstar image sensor, Lens R&D’s Bison64 Sun sensor, Lusospace’s demisable magnetorquer, the Sireus series of gyroscopes, Innalab’s AQUILA accelerometer, Terma and Sodern’s star tracker developments, among others.
The AOCS and Pointing Systems test facility, managed by the AOCS and Pointing Systems section supports R&D activities related to AOCS prototyping, implementation of innovative techniques for AOCS design and tuning, high accuracy pointing and dynamic systems. A new laboratory facility is under preparation to develop and implement best practices for CubeSat AOCS functional testing. The laboratory develops and tests a system mitigating the micro-vibrations generated by a wheel or by a cryo-cooler. This closed loop system uses force cells or IMU as sensors, a MICROLABBOX or a Raspberry PI as CPU, and 6x Proof Mass Actuators.
Besides, a fast and high definition camera and associated software performs motion amplification visualising and measuring micro-vibrations of complete structures in a non-intrusive way up to 3000Hz.
Piezo tip-tilt mirror and associated electronics from PI
IO hardware interface and software from dSpace
Accelerometers and conditioners from PCB
352C33 (x2), 356B18 (x2)
ICP accelerometers from WILCOXON
Accelerometers conditioners from PCB
Laser Autocollimator from LDS
Fast Steering Mirror from CEDRAT
4-channel charge amplifier from BRUEL & KJAER
NEXUS 2692 (x3)
Optical table from NEWPORT
The goal of the GNC Rendezvous, Approach and Landing Simulator (GRALS) is to demonstrate the performance of visual navigation algorithms with hardware-in-the-loop capabilities in a dynamical environment, and to implement and test relative navigation algorithms, in particular for Rendezvous and Landing scenarios.
Scaled landing trajectories for planetary or small body-missions descent phase
Scaled and 1:1 trajectories for planetary or small body-missions landing/touchdown phase
Scaled trajectories for rendezvous missions
Scaled and 1:1 trajectories for the final approach and docking/berthing of the rendezvous phase of a mission
33m wall rail with 1.1m robot arm
5.6m ceiling rail with 1.1m robot arm
Darkening and illumination elements
Ground truth pose estimation system
The objective of VISILAB is to support future exploration projects and prototyping innovative vision-based techniques. VISILAB contains a small size, high-resolution vision-based test bed for planetary landing and several hardware elements and cameras. This test bed has been used successfully to demonstrate the performance of visual navigation algorithms with hardware-in-the-loop capabilities, to implement and test relative navigation algorithms. This test bed has also been used to support the review of the domains of camera calibration and visual navigation. The VISILAB also has a UR5 collaborative robot to place a sensor (e.g. camera) on its end and perform open-loop or close-loop GNC simulations.