Air bearing table of the FACE lab
In order to enable satellites carrying out their tasks (e.g. Earth observation, astronomical observations, communications), it is required to set the appropriate attitude (orientation) and orbit necessary for the task. For that purpose satellites carry on-board sensors for measuring attitude and orbit and actuators for influencing and changing the satellite’s movement as well as software which determines attitude and orbit from sensor signals and calculates control actions commanding the actuators.
Before an Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) can be used, several phases of development have to be passed, starting with the design until commissioning in orbit. One of the main competencies of the GNC Systems Department is the end-to-end development of complete attitude and orbit control systems. This includes, among other things:
The GNC Systems Department applies the standards of the ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardization) for the implementation of the AOCS development process with the focus on the standards and handbooks of the E-60 discipline (Control Engineering).