Reinventing the wheel: parabolic flight validation of reaction spheres

PI: Alvin Yew, NASA GSFC, Emory Stagmer (Co-I), Northrop Grumman

This proposal is for a parabolic flight campaign that is critical to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 advancement of current TRL 4 reaction sphere prototypes. The technology is similar to single-axis reaction wheels, but can advantageously provide attitude control in all three degrees of rotational freedom for Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) savings. Reaction spheres will improve the pointing accuracy and stability for small satellite (smallsat) missions requiring long duration imaging and tracking, and for missions experiencing large disturbance torque accumulations. Along with ongoing development efforts, the proposed free-flying experiments in zero-gravity are needed to adequately validate the technology.

This technology went on to win a Tipping Point award in 2015.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA03 Space Power & energy Storage
  • TA05 Communication and Navigation
No Maturation information yet.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    AFO8 (April 2014)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    TRL 4
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 Parabolic

Development Team

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Stephan Ord Last Update: December 8, 2016