Spacecraft parts refer to all components of spaceships or robots designed to travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere and explore outer space, such as satellites orbiting Earth, rovers sent out to other planets, or Apollo capsules that carried astronauts between Earth and the Moon.
Spacecraft systems include multiple subsystems that vary based on mission requirements. These may include attitude determination and control (commonly known as ADAC or ADC); guidance navigation and control; communications; power; thermal control; propulsion; propulsion systems and structures.
Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem
ADCS is responsible for stabilising and pointing a spacecraft in its desired condition. Imaging and communications satellites frequently need precise pointing for precise target acquisition.
Such tasks necessitate an accurate attitude estimation process: estimates must be robust against measurement glitches and spurious signals while still meeting point requirements throughout their entire mission duration. Emergency systems must also be put in place in case the main estimation process should fail.
The sensor hardware comprises sun sensors and magnetometers which gather data for use by the microcontroller as an indication of attitude. OBE components convert analogue signals from sensors into digital data transmission for efficient interface with microcontroller.
Guidance Navigation and Control Subsystem
Integrated guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) systems are the brains of spacecraft, responsible for anticipating its state, steering it to reach its mission target quickly, and stabilizing within specified dispersion parameters. It is one of the most complex tasks a spacecraft must perform and often requires sophisticated software onboard.
These systems use sensors such as gyroscopes, lateral accelerometers and radio/satellite links as well as advanced algorithms like Proportional-Integral-Derivative or Linear Quadratic Regulators to make adjustments in orbit or trajectory using electrically powered reaction wheels or magnetic torquers for fine tuning orientation or chemical thrusters for more drastic shifts.
The communications subsystem collects uplink radio signals, validates and decodes them, and passes command data along to other spacecraft systems. It may also record housekeeping or science data in a data recorder for later transmission to Earth or record housekeeping and science data from sensors onboard the spacecraft for later analysis.
Communication may take place via radio frequency (RF) technology such as spread spectrum to reduce interference from nearby transmitters and support high-rate downlink of science data and telemetry, or through free space optical communication (FSO), which employs wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation to convey messages between cells in free space.
Spaceflight requires precision engineering. Environmental subsystems protect it from temperature variations, micrometeoroid bombardment and other hazards in space.
Electrical Power Subsystem
Spacecrafts require power sources in addition to sending back data back home. Our selection of space-approved devices offers solutions for this essential subsystem.
Bradford Space offers a modular microsatellite PCDU concept designed to meet the power requirements of spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This product includes power conditioning and distribution using a 28V bus power source with sixteen individually-controlled, telemetered output channels which can be turned on or off by remote command, along with radiation tolerance that enables peak power delivery up to 100W peak output power output capability.
Propulsion systems allow spacecraft to maneuver in orbit and traverse space efficiently, performing functions such as correcting launch vehicle injection errors; compensating for orbit perturbations due to solar radiation pressure, atmospheric drag or inhomogeneity of Earth’s gravity field as well as effects from Sun and Moon gravitationally pulling on them; performing planned maneuvers and maintaining specific trajectories (stationkeeping).
Moog engineers create monopropellant systems tailored specifically for each mission. This expertise includes thermal and structural system analysis, hot fire testing of systems, as well as designing and manufacturing propellant tanks, valves, pipes and control systems.
Structures Subsystem – To protect and hold all other parts together. This includes providing a physical shell or “shelter”, such as deployable solar panels. Furthermore, this design must withstand mechanical forces associated with launch and space travel.
The Command and Data Handling Subsystem manages uplink commands as well as overseeing data collection and storage, possibly using multiple computers or redundancy to ensure functionality should any components fail.
Propulsion subsystem is responsible for maneuvering satellite into orbit and maintaining it within space using engines that release fuel to produce thrust.
Spacecraft payloads are among the most diverse subsystems and an essential element of any mission. Their functions may range from scientific studies of physical elements of space; to astronomy observations; Earth observation for planet Earth viewing purposes and communications transmission services – or simply communications transmission between spacecraft.
Communication subsystems on spacecrafts consist of transmitters to transmit data back to Earth, receivers for receiving it from ground control, and signal processing units that demodulate and encode it – also providing the link between other spacecraft systems and outside world.