Design, Implementation, and Testing of an Attitude Determination System for the McMaster NEUDOSE 2U Cube Satellite


  • Liam Gerrit Keith Flannigan McMaster University


presents the design, implementation, and testing of an attitude determination system for the McMaster NEUDOSE cube satellite. An attitude control system is a vital part of any satellite, as accurate measurements of positional data are required to orient and point the satellite to satisfy mission parameters. This is a difficult challenge for student-based teams due to the potentially high cost of components, as well as long development time caused by the relative inexperience of most undergraduate students with aerospace projects. This paper aims to lower the barrier to entry for students interested in cube satellite development by summarizing the theory of attitude control, as well as providing suggestions for cost-effective attitude determination components. The attitude determination system outline in this paper was built over an 18-month period and concluded with testing on NASA’s High-Altitude Student Platform in September 2018. The experiment showed successful data collection from the inertial measurement unit and telemetry components, while the on-board magnetometer did not produce useable data due to a passive electronic component failing mid-flight. Suggestions for improving the magnetometer circuit are made, along with additional recommendations to move from an attitude determination system to a more robust attitude determination and control system.