Brushless Motors for Nanosatellites

Nanosatellites like those developed by Clyde Space, a Scottish company, depend on brushless DC motors for aerospace from maxon motor. Nanosatellites, also known as CubeSats, are miniaturized satellites that are used primarily for space research. At 10 x 10 x 10 cm big and less than 1 kg in weight, these cost-effective miniature satellites have many applications within space research.

Triaxial Inclination Control System

Clyde Space and maxon worked together to improve the inclination control of these nanosatellites. Doing so would enable the CubeSats to be used for a number of new applications, such as:

  • Observing Earth with high-resolution cameras
  • Transmitting data with high bandwidth
  • Applications within space science and astronomy
  • Precision inspection of new technology in orbit

In order to do so, maxon and Clyde Space developed a triaxial inclination control system based on torque positioning via a reaction wheel. The wheel is driven by a brushless DC motor from maxon. When the speed of the wheel changes, a reaction moment is created and the CubeSat is rotated. In order to achieve complete inclination control on all three axes, several reaction wheels were needed.

Clyde Space wanted to use a cost-effective solution that they knew would be able to withstand the unique application demands. The brushless motor with diameter of about 20 mm was modified to suit the environment. Maxon installed the reaction wheel and ensured proper dynamic calibration of the subassembly.

The demands of the environment were crucial in determining a fit for the CubeSat. Maxon was chosen because their brushless motors for nanosatellites can handle not only the strong vibrations and impacts during rocket start, but the high cyclical thermal load and radiation in orbit.

Electromate supplies these brushless DC motors that can be used in a variety of different industries and applications. For more information, contact us today.