Purpose – In this paper we present an innovative system able to provide to the CubeSats belonging to a swarm the ability to establish an inter-satellite communication crosslink and to determine the mutual physical positioning. Design/methodology/approach – Through a system involving a smart-antenna array managed by a beamforming control strategy every CubeSat of the swarm can measure the Direction-of-arrival (DOA) and the distance (Range) in order to estimate the physical position of the received signal. Moreover, during the transmission phase, the smart-antenna shape the beam in order to establish a reliable and directive communication link with the others spacecraft and/or with the ground station. Furthermore, we introduce the use of a deployable structure fully developed at Politecnico di Torino able to increase the external surface of CubeSats: this surface allows to gain the interspace between elements of the smart-antenna. Findings - As a consequence, the communication crosslink, the directivity and the detection performance of the DOA system in terms of directivity and accuracy are improved. Practical implications – Moreover, the deployable structure offers a greater usable surface, so a larger number of solar panels can be used. This guarantees up to 25W of average power supply for the on-board systems and for transmission on a 1U CubeSat (10x10x10 cm). Originality/value – This paper describes the physical implementation of the antenna array system on a 1U CubeSat using the deployable structure developed. Depending on actuators and ability that every CubeSat disposes, various interaction level between elements can be achieved. Thus making the CubeSat constellation an efficient and valid solution for space missions.
|Titolo:||Swarm System for CubeSats|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1108/AEAT-07-2016-0119|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|