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C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

Draper Labs targets natural forces for satellite control

30 November 2017

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory is using natural forces in space to control spacecraft, satellites, and potentially nanosatellites.

Smaller satellites are more difficult to manoeuvre due to the impact that drag, solar radiation pressure, and magnetic field forces have on them. The result on standard 10×10×10 cm cube satellites (CubeSats) is that up to half of the mass is taken up by conventional stabilisers, leaving little room for sensors, radios, and antennae, Draper Labs said in a statement.

Draper Labs researchers have leveraged those same disruptive natural forces and discovered a way to harness them that could lead to the development of new steering technologies for nanosatellites, according to the statement.

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