The cost and weight of each spacecraft has been decreasing year by year. Space optical communication technologies, that are being established, have been required to reduce cost and weight recently.
The general rotational actuators of spacecraft are magnetic motors. However, it is difficult to reduce it’s weight and cost dramatically since magnetic motors include iron core and metal coil. In addition, we do not have the flexibility of magnetic motor’s shape.
JAXA is interested in optical data relay including LEO-GEO optical communication. In this application, space optical communication equipment must equip rotational actuators as a coarse pointing mechanism. Therefore, the authors have focused on ultra-sonic motors (USM) for the equipment of space optical communication so that we will achieve lower cost, lower weight and a more-flexible-shape of actuators than magnetic motors.
In this presentation, the authors propose applications of USM as actuators of space optical communications. USM has been widely used in our life and industry. Usage in industry includes vacuum environments of the semiconductor manufacturing process. So, the authors estimated the usage of USM can be applied to actuators of spacecraft.
At first, the authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of USM compared to traditional magnetic motors. Then, driving performance of USM under vacuum, high and low-temperature conditions are shown.
At last, results of life estimation test of USM are discussed.