Spacecraft Pointing Control and Zero-gravity Slosh – Knowledge Payload

PI: Steven Collicott, Purdue University

Earth, Moon, and Mars imaging satellites depend on rapid and accurate pointing maneuvers, which can be affected by fluid behavior. In particular, vehicles using liquid propellants require accurate prediction of loads on the propellant tank (from liquid pressure and viscous shear) and the rate of damping of liquid motion. To better understand fluid behavior and its effect on spacecraft pointing, researchers have developed a Spacecraft Pointing Control and Zero-Gravity Slosh Knowledge payload, the data from which will provide unique comparison cases and may help enable highly fuel-efficient designs.

This work is a continuation of previous flight testing under T0216.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA02 In-Space Propulsion Technologies
Problem Statement

Expansion of space commerce requires optimal satellite performance for pointing rapidly and repeatedly for imaging as well as for achieving high fuel efficiency enabled by precise guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) models of the liquid response. The objectives of this experiment are to gather design parameter data for technology development and then to enter it into the NASA Physical Sciences Informatics System.

Technology Maturation

This technology is currently at TRL 4 and is expected to advance to TRL 5 via testing that aims to acquire damping data in zero-gravity spaceflight.

Future Customers

Large and small satellites
Commercial Earth imaging
Docking and pointing

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights19 (Oct 2019)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Stephan Ord Last Update: November 16, 2018