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The “OrbiCraft” construction set and “TERRA” laboratory equipment together are a complex of semi-realistic simulations designed to teach schoolchildren and students the basic principles of developing, designing, assembling, testing, and operating a spacecraft. The main feature: rather than developing the separate systems and going into detail with each device, the complex allows students to instead place an emphasis on the system design of the spacecraft as a whole and quickly obtain the result - a real functioning prototype.


The complex includes:

  • A set of modules for assembling a functional model of a satellite – the “OrbiCraft” construction set,
  • “TERRA” laboratory equipment.

The functional satellite model (object assembled from the “OrbiCraft” construction set) contains:

  • payload – a camera for survey of the surrounding space (or another payload of your choice);
  • central on-board computer based on Raspberry Pi;
  • power supply system, including a battery, solar panel, and power control unit;
  • a system for transmitting commands and collecting telemetry, including a radio transceiver on board and on “Earth”;
  • orientation and stabilization system, including sun sensors, a magnetometer, an angular velocity sensor, and a flywheel;
  • open source software in C and Python;
  • a set of manuals, assembly instructions, and guidelines for using the construction set as a part of the laboratory equipment.

“TERRA” laboratory equipment includes:

  • a rotating globe that acts as an earth surface simulator imitating the kinematics of the satellite's translational motion along a near-earth orbit;
  • spotlight – sun simulator providing a stream of “solar” radiation for the work of solar sensors;
  • frame - geomagnetic field simulator, which is important for the operation of the on-board orientation system;
  • special string gimbal (“thread”), which provides satellite movement relative to its center of mass;
  • “Mission Control Center” (MCC), which includes a ground-based transceiver and special PC software simulating the functional operation of real spacecraft MCC.

All parts of the construction set consist of commercially available and safe-to-use components.

Principle of operation

The functional “satellite” model, assembled from the construction set and programmed by user, is suspended by the thread. Then, it is slightly twisted and released, allowing the model to perform plane torsional oscillations. Depending on the task, the set of orientation sensors, the software, the composition and configuration of the main systems, and the payload, the “satellite” should stabilize its rotation on the gimbal (stop), then turn to one of the lateral surfaces on the “Earth” and take a photo of the “Earth's” surface in a given section. Variability of tasks is determined by different success criteria - maximum speed, different targeting algorithms, guidance accuracy, the simplicity and speed of implementation, minimum devices used in the arrangement, maximum information transmitted from the board, etc.

Stand scheme

en/how.1516114363.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/03/25 16:29 (external edit)