Sun position detector for space applications

The nanoelectronics group has already developed a sun position detector for sounding rockets. Through further development and by adding new ideas we want to develop this into a general detector. The main application area is space (rockets, small and large satellites) but we also see many applications on ground (control of solar panels on moving vehicles, window blinds, positioning (GPS backup) etc.) Analysis of the present and near future state-of-the art indicates that our planned detector very significantly outperformance other detectors for the geostationary satellites. The subject of the master thesis will be to develop VHDL code for the present and new detector. This shall be verified on an FPGA together with present sensors.

Present detector for sounding rocket and new detector for satelites

Sun position detectors shows the position of the sun relative to the spacecraft. This is essential for finding the optimal direction of solar panels, for finding the positioning of the spacecraft and find its orientation.

Our new system will have significant smaller size, weight, power consumption and a smaller number of components compared to the competitors. One of the challenges is that the electronics have to survive minimum 15 years in harsh environments with high radiation and rapid and large temperature changes. Our system is expected to have a significant higher reliability and redundancy compared to competing solutions.

The old sensor circuits consist of two orthogonal sensor lines. In our next version we will have several sensor circuits with several sensors on each circuit in a 3-dimentional structure. This will be connected in a way that ensures independent signal and power domains. If a domain temporary or permanently fails this will not influence on the others. In addition to the increased redundancy the new design consists of several added features to increase resolution, speed and reduce power consumption.

The topic of the master thesis will be to develop VHDL-code for the sensors, for the domain masters and for the top-level decision making. The code will be verified on a FPGA and later be synthesized and ported to the sensor circuits.

The new design is patented and the licence rights for space is bought by Eidel (Eidsvoll Elektronikk). The thesis will be supervised in a companionship between UiO, Eidel and the inventors. Funding will be applied for a research position that will run in parallel with the master project.

Ref: A Miniaturized Two-Axis Ultra Low Latency and Low-Power Sun Sensor for Attitude Determination of Micro Space Probes, Farian L. Häfliger P Lenero-Bardallo J.A., IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, Volume 65, Issue 5, May 2018, pp 1543-1554. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=8094260

Publisert 8. okt. 2018 14:08 - Sist endret 30. okt. 2018 20:21

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