Aerospace applications

Guidance, navigation and control algorithms for CoNAE's VEx series of experimental rockets
The argentine space agency (CoNAE) is developing a satellite injector for light payloads (ISCUL, Inyector Satelital de Cargas Útiles Livianas project). The main goal of this project is to design and build a launch vehicle with capability to place into low-earth (LEO) orbit satellite spacecrafts weighting up to 250kg. For this purpose, several technological demonstration missions must be accomplished, in incremental steps. Currently, CoNAE is developing the VEx (Vehículos Experimentales) series of experimental rockets, aiming to test the thrust system and the guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) systems.
GPSIC is developing the GN&C algorithms for this vehicle series, in the framework of a (2013) CoNAE-FIUBA collaboration agreement.
  • Juan I. Giribet, Pablo Bernadí, Federico Roasio, Guidance, Navigation and Control algorithms design and flight software development, 2013.

Precise attitude algorithms for CoNAE-NASA's Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft
On June 10th 2011, the Aquarius/SAC-D satellite observatory was successfully launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA. Among other payloads, this spacecraft carries a Technological Demonstration Package (TDP module) with a cluster of four IFOG (Interferometric Fiber-Optic Gyroscope) technology gyros developed by CIOp (Centro de Investigaciones Ópticas, CONICET-CIC) center.
In the framework of a (2012) CoNAE-FIUBA collaboration agreement, GPSIC is working on the Data Management and Precise Attitude Determination (GDAP) project. This comprehends: development of post-processing algorithms for AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control) subsystem data and IFOG cluster (TDP module) data, development of post-processing algorithms estimating model parameters for the IFOG gyros and development of a data management (and human interface) software system.
Additionally, the project includes the development and feasibility study of a novel gyroscope testbench and testing technique on earth, using an industrial robot facility. This is being carried-on in collaboration with Mauricio Anigstein, Carlos Cartelli and Pablo González from FIUBA's Robotics Laboratory (LdR, Laboratorio de Robótica).
  • Juan I. Giribet, Casimiro Rocha Duque, Sebastián E. García, Precise attitude algorithms for CoNAE-NASA's Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, 2013.

Navigation and attitude control algorithms for the VS-30 sounding rocket (CoNAE-AEB joint validation mission)
On December 16th, 2007, Brazil and Argentina successfully carried out their first joint mission on sub-orbital launching, performing an experiment in an environmental validation test of an argentine technological passive payload on-board a VS-30 vehicle, a sounding rocket developed by the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB, Agência Espacial Brasileira).
One of the main goals of this experiment was the study and performance evaluation of navigation and attitude control algorithms. For this purpose the payload was equipped with several navigation sensors and a thrust cold gas system. Sixty seconds after launch, a yo-yo de-spin mechanism was activated to reduce the rocket's high angular velocity, then the payload departed and the attitude control system started operation. The attitude navigation system was based on a CCD camera (tracking the horizon and the sun), a coarse sun sensor and three orthogonal gyroscopes. For the propelled stage, a INS/GPS navigation system was developed.
  • Pablo Servidia, Attitude control system, 2003-2006;
  • Juan I. Giribet, Martín España, Navigation system design, 2003-2005;
  • Juan I. Giribet, Implementation of navigation algorithms in a DSP, 2006;
  • Juan Carrizo, Martín España, J. Giribet, Flight data analysis; 2008-2009.

Integrated Navigation System development for CoNAE's Synthetic Aperture Radar
Between 2004 and 2005 the argentine space agency (CoNAE) started to develop an airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging system. This kind of radar can produce high resolution images of surface target areas and terrain. The term Synthetic Aperture is used because the radar utilizes the motion of the aircraft (or other vehicle platform) to synthesize the effect of a large aperture antenna from a physically small aperture antenna. As a result, high resolution images can be obtained from a SAR using an antenna which would otherwise produce poor resolution.
A key technology for the successful implementation of a SAR radar is the navigation system. Members of GPSIC assisted CoNAE in this research project, designing and building a prototype of an integrated navigation system for this application. The prototype was installed in the aircraft and, until 2009, it was the main navigation system for processing the SAR signals. In that year CoNAE installed a commercial high quality integrated navigation system. This commercial navigation platform allowed a performance evaluation of our system (now configured as a secondary backup unit), obtaining interestingly good results.
In 2010, based on testing outcomes from our prototype and due to malfunctioning of the commercial navigation system, CoNAE decided to develop a new integrated navigation system.
  • Juan I. Giribet, Martín España, Diseño del sistema de navegación integrada INS/GPS, 2005-2006;
  • Juan Carrizo, Martín España, Juan I. Giribet, Algoritmos de navegación integrada y análisis de las trayectorias, 2010-2011;
  • Juan Carrizo, Gonzalo Castillo, Martín España, Juan I. Giribet, Actualización del sistema de navegación integrada, 2011-2012.