Comat Aerospace is in the process of developing the 3POD Antenna Pointing System (APS) in collaboration with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French national space agency. The role of the 3POD APS is to keep the antenna pointed at ground stations regardless of the satellite’s orientation while maintaining low mechanical jitter to ensure line of sight stability. For its first projected deployment on the OTOS satellite, the 3POD ATS will be required to provide a 74° pointing domain with a worst case pointing precision of +/- 1° at a pointing speed of about 5° per second.
Comat engineers originally used Adams to perform kinematic simulation of the motion and piloting functions of the robot and to complete a parametric study on the various design parameters and their impact on the overall performance. But incorporating flexibility into the Adams model required a long design loop between the CATIA model, Adams model and Nastran/Patran model. By the time this design loop could be completed, the design had often been changed so the results were outdated. Going further in the process, Comat engineers built a prototype of the robot that highlighted the importance of the flexibility of the elements on its overall rigidity in certain positions.