Giovanna Marocco

EngD Candidate

Project Title: MEMS based attitude sensors for CubeSats

Project Partners: Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow with Clyde Space Ltd.

About Giovanna

Giovanna Marocco is an EngD student in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Sensing and Measurement program. Her EngD project is a collaboration between Clyde Space Ltd and the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow.

Giovanna has a M.Sc. degree cum laude in Electronic Engineering from Politecnico di Bari, Italy.

Research Project

The aim of this research project is to develop a novel highly sensitive gravity sensor for attitude control systems in CubeSats. The sensor will work on the basis of gravity gradiometry whereby the difference in gravity across a baseline is used to determine satellite attitude.

The first phase of the project will design a MEMS gradiometer using Finite Element Methods to develop the device geometry and electronics modelling. The device will then be fabricated using the facilities at the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre, located at the University of Glasgow. This will involve the integration of electrostatic feedback electrodes for closed loop operation and shock stops to limit the movement of the mass to less than 10 µm and ensure the device is passive during launch.

Low power electronics will also be developed to integrate the MEMS device according to CubeSat power unit specifications. The final project phase will include device characterisation, testing, analysis and integration to ensure the sensor can withstand launch.

The EngD project will offer mutual benefits to the University and Clyde Space. Specifically, the potential to develop state-of-the-art nanosatellite sensor technology which could be used on future Clyde Space CubeSat platforms as well as enhanced collaboration with Glasgow University offering access to facilities and expertise.