Worlds First Commercial Spherical Reaction Wheel for Nanosatellites

By SatCatalog – September 15, 2020

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First COTS reaction wheel for CubeSats/NanoSatellites developed by Tensor Tech. Image courtesy of Tensor Tech.

Tensor Tech Developed First COTS Spherical Reaction Wheel


Tensor Tech has developed the first COTS spherical reaction wheel called Reaction Sphere. The novel reaction wheel allows the satellites to maintain and be controlled along all three axes. Conventional reaction wheels require a minimum of three wheels to achieve the same level of control.

A spherical reaction wheel allows a satellite’s ACDS system to be much smaller, saving on volume, mass, and (depending on slew maneuver) less energy than traditional three-axis wheels. Tensor Tech has several configuration options from a standalone Reaction Sphere to a fully integrated ADCS platform. The system is designed to last up to 3+ years in low Earth orbit LEO and has a short lead time of only 4 weeks.

How it Works

Spherical reaction wheels consist of electromagnetics that levitate a three-axis induction motor. The levigating motor can freely rotate to any desired axis without mechanical contact (friction), allowing the three-axis attitude control.

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