Microsatellite Control System for Exceptional Positional Accuracy

Period of Performance: 08/03/2015 - 08/02/2016


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Princeton Satellite Systems
6 Market St. Suite 926
Plainsboro, NJ 08536
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Princeton Satellite Systems proposes an ultra-precise attitude and orbit determination system to provide exceptional ground location accuracy for Earth imaging. A systems approach is required to provide 10 m accuracy to warfighters in real-time. The attitude determination system uses nonlinear attitude filters, optical gyros and star cameras with PSS-developed star centroiding algorithms. These algorithms will dramatically reduce centroiding errors and produce unprecedented attitude knowledge accuracy. The attitude filters can incorporate nontraditional measurements from various attitude-dependent sources onboard the spacecraft, such as the communication system, for improved robustness and accuracy. Optical gyros enable a high bandwidth control system which can acquire multiple targets in one pass. GPS-based orbit determination is enhanced with two-way ranging from the communication system to reduce navigation error. The pointing system uses PSS ultra-low-jitter reaction wheels for high pointing accuracy and to reduce image smear. The technology in this system, which was developed by and is unique to Princeton Satellite Systems, will provide ground location accuracy of better than 10 m in a nanosatellite-class package. In Phase II a testbed including all ACS hardware will be built to verify the design and prepare for Phase III.