DMSP Satellite Operated Without Gyro
A Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft has been flown for the first time without using navigation gyros, the U.S. Air Force announced July 19.
DMSP F15, launched in December 1999, already operates on a single gyro. In the demonstration, the spacecraft was operated for 24 hours using only its Earth sensor and Sun sensor along with a software estimate of yaw error used to maintain proper attitude.
The success of the demonstration means that the life of some DMSP satellites could be extended even when gyro data is not available, the Air Force said. Along with its primary mission, DMSP 15 carries a calibration sensor used by the radar community around the globe.