Project

Reconfigurable space structures

Copyright

Martin Nisser

Martin Nisser

A proof of concept demonstration for a voxel-based reconfigurable space structure based on electromagnetically actuated picosatellites. Individual modules are embedded with a collection of electromagnets used to reconfigure each with respect to the other via pivoting.

By Martin Nisser, PhD student in the HCI Engineering Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. 

The aim of this project is to investigate a novel design and control mechanism by which reconfigurable space structures can be constructed—that is, space structures that are able to adapt their form or properties to different environments and load cases in situ. Looking to recent trends in swarm robotics and the miniaturization of spacecraft technologies such as PocketQubes, structural self-reconfiguration is envisioned as a collective of autonomous robotic modules capable of pivoting relative to each other. In particular, electromagnetic actuators are chosen to this end by pivoting cube-shaped spacecraft relative to each other via repulsion (pivot actuation) and attraction(hinge formation), thereby al… View full description

A proof of concept demonstration for a voxel-based reconfigurable space structure based on electromagnetically actuated picosatellites. Individual modules are embedded with a collection of electromagnets used to reconfigure each with respect to the other via pivoting.

By Martin Nisser, PhD student in the HCI Engineering Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. 

The aim of this project is to investigate a novel design and control mechanism by which reconfigurable space structures can be constructed—that is, space structures that are able to adapt their form or properties to different environments and load cases in situ. Looking to recent trends in swarm robotics and the miniaturization of spacecraft technologies such as PocketQubes, structural self-reconfiguration is envisioned as a collective of autonomous robotic modules capable of pivoting relative to each other. In particular, electromagnetic actuators are chosen to this end by pivoting cube-shaped spacecraft relative to each other via repulsion (pivot actuation) and attraction(hinge formation), thereby allowing propellant-free, non-contact actuators that require no moving parts. This concept requires development on three fronts: first, modelling the forces of the electromagnetic actuators between neighbouring spacecraft; second, deriving a dynamic model of the spacecraft collective and a control strategy to drive the actuators; and third, electronic and mechanical design and fabrication of several modules to be tested on the zero G flight. 

Copyright

Martin Nisser