The Engineering Systems Design Lab (ESDL) at the University of Illinois introduced Strain-Actuated Solar Arrays (SASAs) as a solution for precise satellite Attitude Control System (ACSs). SASA is designed to provide active mechanical vibration (jitter) cancellation, as well as small slew maneuver capabilities to hold a pose for short time periods. Current SASA implementations utilize piezoelectric distributed actuators to strain deployable structures, and the resulting momentum transfer rotates the spacecraft bus. A core disadvantage, however, is small strain and slew capability. Initial SASA systems could help improve pointing accuracy, but must be coupled with another ACS technology to produce large reorientations. A novel extension of the original SASA system is presented here that overcomes the small-displacement limitation, enabling use of SASA as a sole ACS for some missions, or in conjunction with other ACSs. This extension, known as Multifunctional Structures for Attitude Control (MSAC), can produce arbitrarily-large rotations, and has the potential to scale to large spacecraft. The system utilizes existing flexible deployable structures (such as solar arrays or radiators) as multifunctional devices. This multi-role use of solar panels extends their utility at a low mass penalty, while increasing reliability of the spacecraft ACS.

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