Plug-and-Play for Creating “Instant” GN&C Solutions

Abstract:

Small satellites provide an excellent, near-term platform for demonstrating a responsive capability highlighting missions that necessitate quick launch, quick operational capability, with an attendant, very short development schedule. To achieve this rapid response capability, there is the implication that spacecraft will need to embrace the PC-based concept of Plug-and-Play (PnP), where the user plugs a device into a USB socket, invoking the operating system to find the correct driver, configure the system parameters, and seamlessly makes the device an available resource. Creating a truly modular, PnP spacecraft capability will stretch the industry, particularly in terms of developing guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) systems which are traditionally customized for each specific mission and payload. To facilitate the creation of a PnP GN&C system, a set of generic algorithms can be created that are not dependent on the sensor suite, or the actuator suite, or the vehicle characteristics. This antithetical approach to the traditional development of GN&C solutions can be viewed as a disruptive technology, where an upfront investment can result in monumental rewards. This paper will present a mechanism for creating an instant GN&C solution, using the PnP paradigm, to create small satellites that can support new and emerging mission needs.

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Graven, P., Y. Plam, L.J. Hansen and J. Pollack. 21st Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Logan, UT. August 13–17, 2007.