Focus on… Hassen Fourati (GIPSA-Lab) and the SPACE project

on the April 9, 2018

Hassen Fourati is a researcher in automation and robotics at the GIPSA-Lab laboratory (UMR of Grenoble Alpes University and CNRS). He obtained funding from the Grenoble Alpes Data Institute for his SPACE project "NanoSatellite Project: Advanced modeling and Control of AttitudE dynamics for quantum communication".
Now there is a strong competition in the space quantum communication domain with nanosatellites, most notably in China, Japan, USA, etc. France, and by extension Europe, cannot afford to remain passive bystanders. The industry of miniature satellites is constantly growing. SpaceWorks company which provides market projections for US government and commercial customers, estimating that around 2400 micro/nanosatellites will require launch until 2023 (DePasquale and Bardford, 2013). The SPACE project aims to launch an exploratory study to find the required minimal data they need to collect and combine for software design of Nanosatellite Attitude Determination and Control System
(ADCS). This software will be tested within the future NanoBob 12U Nanosatellite.

schéma manoeuvresThe NanoBob consortium is a collaboration of CSUG and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) in Vienna. The project’s main goal is to demonstrate free-space full quantum communication link between an Optical Ground Station (OGS) and NanoBob 12U Nanosatellite in order to exchange secure cryptographic information. Quantum communication (QC) is reaching a level of maturity that makes it a promising choice for future cryptography and secure communication. It is expected to become in the near future the preferred method to transmit encrypted data with the preservation of security and privacy.

It is of utmost importance that the OGS and the satellite telescopes remain accurately directed at each other during the rapid passage of the satellite over the OGS (typically the satellite remains within sight for roughly 5 minutes).

To keep the satellite almost perfectly aligned with the transmitter source, Nanobob will use an Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS). It is composed of various sensors (horizon sensor, sun sensor, star tracker, magnetometer, etc.) to determine the satellite position and of actuators to move.
The exploratory study cover the following two main parts which will be included in the ADCS software:
1) Attitude computation: How to improve attitude dynamics modelling for a rigid body moving in space? Which minimal sensors data are needed in order to compute attitude and ensure best compromise accuracy/cost computation? How noisy data influences attitude computation?
2) Control architecture: How to use the available data in order to achieve high pointing performance? How to adapt the control software in the presence of uncertainties?


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Published on February 25, 2020