Inertial, gyroscope take to space

September 27, 2016  - By

nea-scout-1-piece-sailSensonor AS of Norway has partnered with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to supply current and future low- and near-Earth orbit space missions with inertial and gyroscope modules.

The Norway-based company first began supplying its standard inertial measurement unit (IMU) and gyroscope modules for low Earth orbit (LEO) space applications in 2012, Sensonor’s STIM300 and STIM210 inertial products now fly aboard several NASA spacecraft. Current projects using STIM inertial systems include the Raven technology demonstration and Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout.

Raven, which launched to the International Space Station in September, will test key elements of an autonomous relative navigation system. Its technologies may one day help future robotic spacecraft autonomously and seamlessly rendezvous with other objects in motion, such as a satellite in need of fuel or a tumbling asteroid.

The NEA Scout is a robotic reconnaissance mission that will be deployed to fly by and return data from an asteroid representative of NEAs.

The STIM gyroscope modules are often used in combination with GPS or a Star Tracker and Kalman Filter to orient and stabilize the satellite, as well as to provide feedback on satellite motion induced by its reaction wheels. In some applications, the gyroscopes are used to stabilize satellite-to-satellite communications.

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