TEAMS_5D - Air cushion vehcile
The Test Environment for Applications of Multiple Spacecraft (TEAMS) test facility is a laboratory for simulating the forces and torque free dynamics of several satellites on ground. It consists of two highly smooth and even 4m x 2.5m granite tables on which several air cushion vehicles can glide. To simulate precise formation flying, as in astronomical missions, 2 vehicles can be used to simulate 5 degrees of freedom (TEAMS_5D). The vehicles consist of 2 parts: a lower translation platform and an upper attitude platform. Both platforms are connected by a spherical air bearing which allows the attitude platform to rotate freely. Air tanks mounted on the translation platform supply the air cushion pads and the spherical air bearing.
The attitude platform contains components for satellite attitude and orbit control like an inertial measurement unit, magnetometers, reaction wheels, cold gas thrusters and an onboard computer. This allows the dynamic behaviour of one or more satellites to be simulated.
To simulate satellite swarms smaller vehicles with 3 degrees of freedom can be used (TEAMS_3D). These vehicles do not have a rotating upper platform and can only rotate around one axis. They are used to test formation acquisition, formation reorientation and path planning algorithms.
The main task of the TEAMS facility is to test satellite formation control algorithms on ground. However, sensors for relative attitude and position as well as spacecraft behaviour during berthing and docking manoeuvres (contact dynamics) can also be investigated using this facility.