The satellite laboratory is a fully equipped facility for building satellites, with a cleanroom, soldering facilities and satellite test equipment including “flatsats” and hemispherical airbearings. The CubeSat flatsat will enable the development of payloads and satellite subsystems by offering hardware-in-the-loop testing. Hemispherical air bearings are commonly used to test the attitude control systems of small satellites. The frictionless nature of the spherical air bearing simulates a zero-g environment, allowing the pitch, roll, and yaw control systems of the satellite to work as they would in space.
Air bearing is a simple solution for laboratory testing of satellite attitude control. The setup is used to provide a frictionless environment for the cubesat to simulate the zero gravtitational acceleration in space. A team of students in Bristol has developed a 1-axis airbearing testbed as a proof of concept. The setup will potentially be used for testing of the UoBSat-1 attitude control system once it is extended to 3-axes.