tech track papers

Categories: 2016, Architecture and Systems

Design Progress and Flight Results for the Autonomous Mobile On-orbit Diagnostic System (AMODS)

The United States Naval Academy is developing an Autonomous Mobile On-orbit Diagnostic System (AMODS) to provide all-purpose distributable on-orbit assessment and repair capabilities. To overcome traditional cost and technological hurdles, AMODS comprises a multiple CubeSat arrangement wherein one self-propelled transport CubeSat (BRICSat) will deliver one of several “repair” CubeSats (RSats) with manipulable arms to spacecraft for the purpose of providing diagnostic and maintenance services designed to extend the life of that craft. Once on orbit, each RSat will, in turn, grapple BRICSat and be transferred to a host satellite, where it will latch on and use its manipulators for locomotion and to perform diagnostic and repair tasks as necessary. AMODS will be validated in three phases. Phase One consisted of the launch in May 2015 of the transport module (BRICSat-P) where the effectiveness of microcathode thrusters to provide appropriate ΔV and de-tumble the satellite was evaluated. A second, improved transport module (BRICSat-D) will launch in September 2016. Phase Two involves the 2017 launch of the prototype repair unit, RSat-P, to test the effectiveness of the manipulators, and Phase Three comprises the 2018 launch of the first fully operational Space Tug, BRICSat-T and three repair modules, RSat-1,2,3 to fully validate core functionality and on-orbit feasibility. This paper provides an overview of the entire mission. It commences with an analysis of the design of the BRICSat transfer vehicle and the results of the BRICSat-P flight experiment. The paper will introduce the strategic details which guide the development and integration of the transport and repair units to optimize tendering and deployment functions. It will also include a summary of the RSat design, its visual, assessment and repair proficiencies and the requirements for actuations in a space environment. Finally, it will address the methods of validating the entire AMODS system on-orbit.


Author: Morgan Lange
Topic: Architecture and Systems