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Journal Articles Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Year : 2022

PicSat's Enduring Legacy. Probing the Flight of a Small Astronomical Satellite

Abstract

Observation of planetary transits and other cutting-edge scientific missions can take advantage of affordable nanosatellites to probe interesting stellar targets. PicSat, a CubeSat dedicated to observing the Beta Pictoris star system, was designed to provide high-precision star pointing, a critical requirement for planetary transit detection. PicSat's Attitude Determination and Control System, responsible for delivering high-accuracy spacecraft pointing, requires dedicated development based on dynamic simulators. This paper presents a dynamic attitude and orbit propagation simulator for CubeSats in low Earth orbit, as well as for its de-tumbling mode. Validation has been performed through PicSat's in-flight data. High-precision dynamic models have been obtained for both attitude and orbit. Such models are well suited to the different mission phases, from spacecraft design to data exploitation. It is, therefore, a crucial tool to minimize the chance of failure of both the platform and the payload, especially in satellites such as PicSat, whose pointing depends on both. PicSat left an enduring legacy: its platform data allow us to obtain flight models that will be valuable for future missions.
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insu-03713332 , version 1 (04-07-2022)

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Cauê G. Menegaldo, Fábio de O. Fialho, Eduardo Janot-Pacheco, Felipe M. Pait, Vincent Lapeyrère. PicSat's Enduring Legacy. Probing the Flight of a Small Astronomical Satellite. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2022, 134, ⟨10.1088/1538-3873/ac4e1d⟩. ⟨insu-03713332⟩
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