Attitude Stabilization Design & Simulation Tool


As part of his award-winning senior thesis, Michael Hauge ('21) authored a GUI software tool for designing & simulating passive (undergrad-level) attitude stabilization systems for CubeSats (as only the first step of his overall project designing & building just such a system for our CubeSat, including a gravity boom and hysteresis rods!).  The tool is a free extension of the commercial (but very affordable) CubeSat Toolbox from local vendor Princeton Satellite Systems.  After purchasing the Toolbox, download and install our extension per below.

Our tool allows for configuring a CubeSat's initial mass properties, and then selectively activating and sizing a variety of simple, passive attitude stabilization elements, including a gravity boom (for nadir- or zenith-pointing), permanent magnets (for preferential alignment with Earth's magnetic field), and magnetic hysteresis rods (for detumbling).  Some limited implementation of a single, active magnetic torque rod is also available, for slightly more sophisticated (but still undergrad-level) Earth field interactions: 


Next, the user can configure the mission orbit and stabilization sequence/logic:


Then, after running the simulation of the initial stabilization phase of the reference mission, a wide variety of metrics can be visualized and plotted, describing attitude stabilization performance, disturbance toques, attitude determination, etc. (see only a small subset of available plots at the top of this page). 

Download & Install

Again, our Attitude Stabilization Design & Simulation Tool is only an extension of the commercial CubeSat Toolbox from local vendor Princeton Satellite Systems, and will only be able to run with the CubeSat Toolbox installed.  The CubeSat Toolbox is a "Swiss Army knife" of MATLAB scripts & libraries usable for designing and simulating many aspects of your CubeSat design & mission.  After purchasing and installing the CubeSat Toolbox, you can download our extension here, and install (and "quick start") it per hereMany more technical details about the tool (including Michael's entire thesis) are available upon request

Several example data exports from reference mission simulation runs are available for download in the file list below.  To load these files and view their results in the GUI, you should save them to your working directory, enter the full file name in the ‘Load from File’ field of the GUI, and click the ‘Load’ button. The longer simulations can take several minutes to load fully.  Many more technical details about these example reference missions (and several other examples as well) are available upon request

Some parameters of the simulation (such as brass end-mass density, drag coefficients, default hysteresis rod design, and magnetic north coordinates) are still hard-coded into the code. If you would like to change these parameters, here is a handy cheat sheet for where you can find them in the code.