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A Guide to Magnetorquers for Satellites (satsearch.co)
97 points by kartikkumar 52 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

Hey folks, nice to see this article hit the frontpage. I'm one of the co-founders at satsearch. We're working on building more content like this to open up the space industry to more people.

After some initial feedback, we're already working to expanding this article. We've also published articles on small satellite thrusters [1] and reaction wheels [2]. We'll be publishing one on ground-station-as-a-service soon.

Would love your feedback/input on what you'd like to see next.

[1] https://blog.satsearch.co/2019-07-10-cubesat-thrusters-an-ov...

[2] https://blog.satsearch.co/2019-07-25-reaction-wheels-an-over...

I think an article like this would benefit by including the specs for each of the coils, such as weight, winding material, number of turns, effective area, resistance, and inductance, as well as covering the differences between air cores and ferromagnetic cores. One of the biggest time sinks in selecting components like these is getting suppliers to give you data sheets and converting their specs into a comparable format.

Thanks for the feedback!

That's exactly the direction we're heading towards :)

We've already noticed that suppliers are starting to open up their product data because of the value we can bring to them through our website.

Our long-term plan is indeed to structure data sheets, so that you can actually start comparing products without having to spend hours wading through PDFs docs.

We've soft-launched our API [1], which we're using to build tools like our Data Explorer [2], to help engineers navigate design choices much more easily. Under the hood, we're working with suppliers to convert their data sheets to a standardized format.

We'll work on trying to extend this article specifically with your feedback.

Thanks again!

[1] https://api.satsearch.co

[2] https://satsearch.co/explorer

Love this article!

While it's a little basic, it might be good to go over the different small sat form factors? You could talk about the different launch possibilities and general issues with each different size class.

Thanks for the suggestion! We can definitely set up a couple of articles to touch on the different smallsat form factors on the market. Launch is also a really interesting part of the market to cover. I've added both to out roadmap, thanks!

Very cool!

I have to admit, I couldn't help but think of the comparable part in KSP.

I've thought of building a KSP integration with our database, so who knows, maybe we'll figure out a way that you can actually pull in real parts on the market into KSP in the near future ;)

Star trackers, please.

Thanks for the suggestion! Star trackers and sun sensors are in the pipeline over the next couple of months :)

Thanks! One of next logical topics would be various devices for communication with Earth or in space (say, to a communication satellite).

Do you mean comms systems like transceivers, antenna, etc.? There's some really exciting stuff going on with phased arrays and optical comms at the moment. Software-Defined Radio (SDR) is also becoming an increasing important area of innovation for satellite comms.

Really interesting wikipedia article on them too (the article borrows from it a bit).

This is really amusing to me:

> The Michigan Exploration Laboratory (MXL) suspects that the M-Cubed CubeSat, a joint project run by MXL and JPL, became magnetically conjoined to Explorer-1 Prime, a second CubeSat released at the same time, via strong onboard magnets used for passive attitude control, after deploying on October 28, 2011.[5] This is the first non-destructive latching of two satellites.[6]

Honestly .. now I need to know about the first destructive latching of satellites more than anything else on HN today ..

Check out the Kosmos-2251/Iridium-33 collision. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_satellite_collision

TS Kelso at AGI put out an interesting white paper with more details: https://www.agi.com/resources/white-papers/analysis-of-the-i...

Kelso is also the brains behind CelesTrak for debris tracking: https://www.celestrak.com

There are also a number of videos on YouTube of the collision profile, made using AGI's Systems Toolkit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oRC9dHKI9Y

I'm unclear what "at a speed of" means. Is this relative velocity or just how fast they were both orbiting? Why phrase it this way, I wonder.

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