Flying Squirrels is one of six student teams from all over Europe who recently performed - after more than a year of development – their Fly Your Thesis! 2017 experiments in the 'Zero-G' aircraft.
The Flying Squirrel's experiment tested a new technological system for attitude control of cubesats. This system is composed of a cluster of six mechanical actuators (Single-Gimbal Control Moment Gyros) and a new steering law for these actuators. Control Moment Gyros, already used in some satellites or space stations, have proven to be very power-efficient and have more torque capabilities than other actuators for the same mass. For micro-satellites or cubesats, their use is not common because of their mechanical complexity, the difficulty of steering them, and few systems are commonly available in the market.
Fly Your Thesis! is a recurring programme that ESA Education sponsors on a yearly basis. During the FYT! programme, students receive valuable feedback from ESA, Novespace, and European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) experts; last but least, they get the extraordinary opportunity to execute their experiments in microgravity conditions on-board a state-of-the-art vehicle like the Novespace Zero-G aircraft, alongside professional researchers.