By Sumant Sharma September 30, 2016
Abhishek Cauligi, an incoming M.S. student in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at Stanford University, joins SLAB as a NASA Space Technology Research fellow. At SLAB, Abhishek will be researching a methodology to desaturate spacecraft reaction wheels using external disturbance torques rather than additional momentum-dumping actuators. Reaction wheels are used as the primary source of control on spacecraft used to point the payload or communication system in a desired direction. However, in order to retain pointing capability, spacecraft often carry additional actuators that are used to “dump” momentum back into the system. Under the guidance of Prof. Simone D’Amico, Abhishek will develop the estimation and control algorithms necessary to demonstrate the use of disturbance torques present in the space environment to perform this momentum dumping. By validating this methodology in a simulation and test environment, the lessons learned could be applied towards resource-constrained spacecraft such as CubeSats, where the capability to fly without momentum-dumping actuators adds valuable volume and mass back for science instruments or thrusters. This work will be supported through the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship [grant number NNX16AM78H].
Abhishek earned his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. His interests in spacecraft GNC problems stem from a co-op on the Attitude Dynamics and Controls (ADCS) team at Planetary Resources, where he worked extensively on software and hardware for the Arkyd-6 spacecraft. This past summer, he worked on the GNC team with the Falcon 9 Mission Analysis group at SpaceX. Abhishek is excited to begin his coursework and research at Stanford. In addition to his fellowship work, he hopes to learn further through the exciting hardware and simulation work being developed at SLAB. Thereafter, he hopes to continue onto his PhD in spacecraft GNC. Abhishek’s NSTRF profile can be found here.