Picking up where senior detail (what year?) team Chinook left off, Aphophis VII is working on a return rover to collect samples from a hypothetical asteroid Aphophis VII. Focusing on attitude determination control and structural subsystems, the team attempted to solve a problem critical to the usage of solar panels especially on an asteroid, collecting solar radiation.
Due to the erratic spinning nature of asteroids, a solar panel located on the surface of an asteroid must be actively aimed at the sun to produce needed power. Conquering this issue was the main focus of Aphophis VII.
Planning to modify the Spacecraft Attitude Control Simulator (SACS) designed this past semester by Chinook. ← (Choppy sentence fragment – need clarification) Instead of stabilizing to a level position, the simulator will be programmed to follow solar input based off of solar sensors mounted to the table.
The SACS is basically a table powered by cold thrusters that can stabilize the system at any angle based off a computer input. It has a three degrees of freedom mounting system that can tilt to face a specific way (Determined by user input, direction of sun rays, ….what?). The simulator will also correct itself when disturbed by external forces.
The hardest task the team faced was in choosing what to downsize for their detail project (What were the other options? Why did they chose this one?). For astro teams, all of the components are expensive due to the need for high quality parts and materials for the rigors of space. The improved design of the SACS fits mission requirements in designing what has already proved to be a tricky task,which is having a simulator that can autonomously aim itself towards a light source.
For Aphophis VII, the most exciting part of the project is realizing that they have actually learned enough in college to realize complex projects such as building the SACS. Approaching the end of the preliminary design phase, the team is excited to start working on the actual design portion of the project.