|MIT Department: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Kerri Cahoy
Undergraduate Institution: University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
My name is Carlos Alberto Morell Rodríguez. I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico in a town called Coamo. As a current senior at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, I developed an interest for heat transfer applications in space technologies by participating in two internships at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. My current research interests are in advancing the technology of small-scale satellites that are able to acquire critical data from the Earth. My goal is to be able to use my developing knowledge as an engineer and future leader to make a significant impact in the world. In my free time I enjoy reading, playing guitar, watching TV, working out, and going to the beach.
Characterizing and Verifying Magnetorquer-based CubeSat Attitude Determination and Control System Hardware
Carlos A. Morell Rodríguez1, Paula do Vale Pereira2, Nick Belsten2 Alex Choi2, and Kerri Cahoy2
1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
2Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CubeSats are miniaturized satellites that provide a cost-effective way of obtaining on-orbit data, such as Earth observation. Embedded within CubeSats, specifically within the BeaverCube satellite (an MIT CubeSat that is set to launch in December 2021), is an Attitude Control and Determination System (ADCS), which senses and controls the position of the spacecraft. One common ADCS component is the magnetorquer. Magnetorquers control the angular momentum of a spacecraft by producing a magnetic field that interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field, producing a torque that will rotate the spacecraft to the desired direction. Magnetorquer measurements, however, present error and captures undesirable noise from the outside environment. The magnetorquer noise was captured and quantified by performing actuation tests inside a cleanroom environment where the error constraints (actuation time, sampling rate) within the system could be defined. This method increases the precision of the ADCS onboard BeaverCube. The actuation tests will improve previous work of noise characterization onboard BeaverCube. This work was considered a non-realistic assumption of mathematically perfect noise, e.g., Gaussian noise. Actuations from the magnetorquer were analyzed by observing magnetic field changes from nearby reference magnetometers. The flight computer can now recognize spurious frequencies with a fully characterized noise, ensuring that BeaverCube points adequately at the Earth and successfully completes its Earth observation mission.