Australian Space Science Conference 2011
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Leon Stepan

Simulation and Modelling using Nanosatellites

Leon Stepan
DSTO - Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Divisi

Robert Earl
DSTO - Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Division

Iain Cartwright
DSTO - Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Division

     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: August 5, 2011

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) are currently conducting research and development under the Space Corporate Enabling Research Program (CERP). The Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Division (ISRD) has been building its capability to model and simulate space-based systems. ISRD is currently involved in a collaborative CubeSat mission known as Biarri. The primary mission objective is to demonstrate precision differential position measurements utilising a constellation of three CubeSats deployed in a string of pearls configuration.

ISRD has conducted initial investigations using commercially available satellite simulation software STK, together with in-house development tools, to understand the impact satellite orbit selection has on mission performance and objectives.

Critical limitations for nanosatellite platforms are typically the size and the power generation ability. CAD models of the satellite bus with several solar panel configurations have been developed and power generation profiles calculated. The impact that the satellite’s orbit and orientation has on power generation has been investigated.

Part of Australia’s contribution toward the mission is the provision of the GPS receivers that will be installed on the satellite bus. Using the CAD models propagated in the simulation environment, the optimal GPS receiver location was identified that minimised the geometric dilution of precision caused by occlusion from the satellite structure.

ISRD are using nanosatellite platforms as a stepping stone to build up modelling capabilities towards larger more complex and capable space-based systems to prepare for a time when Australian Defence re-enters space.

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