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U Toronto Students Design Small Satellite with MathWorks Software

A laboratory at the University of Toronto has designed and simulated nanosatellite control systems using software from MathWorks. The project to develop the high-performance attitude control systems engaged graduate students working alongside engineers from the Space Flight Laboratory at the university's Institute for Aerospace Studies.

The students used MathWorks' MATLAB, a programming language and development environment, and Simulink, an application for simulation and model-based design. The first stage of their research involved developing a preliminary design of a satellite system. Then they worked with lab engineers to model and test precision attitude control systems using their design.

"Using MathWorks tools on [the space flight] projects equips our students with invaluable, practical space systems engineering experience," said Robert Zee, director of the lab. "MATLAB and Simulink provided the opportunity for graduate students to work side by side with engineers and gain practical experience on a system that will actually fly in space."

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Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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