Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), a non-profit R&D corporation owned by Utah State University, is close to completing initial development of a series of miniaturized components for small satellites. Alternately, SDL says they can also be used in larger satellites to save weight and cost. The units, which include a very small tetrahedral reaction wheel prototype, single board processor and other sensors, have been developed as part of PEARL – the pico-satellite exo-atmospheric research laboratory.
The reaction wheel prototype and PEARL (right) on display at NSS. (Guy Norris)
The initial 3U-sized PEARL mock-up, displayed at NSS, measures 13.5-in. in height by just over 4-in. square, and is one of the smallest spacecraft to provide 3-axis attitude control, as well as a platform for navigation and mission data processing. A full-up PEARL prototype could be ready for tests in space within 18 months says SDL, and an optional deployable solar array is also under development for missions requiring greater power needs.