Spinworks > UP – Analysis, HW Implementation and Pre-Flight Validation of Nano/Microsat AOCS

UP - Analysis, HW Implementation and Pre-Flight Validation of Nano/Microsat AOCS

The main goal of the UP project is to develop an integrated set of simulation, analysis, test & validation tools, as well as design, develop and implement in hardware two complete Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystems – for a 1U Cubesat and a microsatellite.


UP – Analysis, HW Implementation and Pre-Flight Validation of Nano/Microsat AOCS
UP aims at performing technology maturation for Guidance, Navigation and Attitude and Orbit Control systems (GNC/ AOCS) applicable to nano-satellites (CubeSats) and micro-satellites up to 150kg, from the initial design up to the implementation, test and validation in space-compatible CPU and FPGA components. For the micro-satellite case, we have performed a preliminary co-design and performance assessment of an AOCS with Image Processing for the purposes of image stabilization using a mirror-based mechanism to guide an optical instrument for Earth Observation.
479.634,23 EUR
FEDER – 376.732,31 EUR
SpinSim Simulation Library
1U Cubesat ADCS Architecture
Concept Design for a Very High Resolution (<1m/pixel) Camera for Microsats
Preliminary Structural Design for a VHR Microsat


  1. Project Management 
  2. Support Technologies for Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystems (AOCS)
  3. AOCS Development for Cubesats 
  4. Concept Design of an Image Stabilizer for Earth Observation
  5. AOCS and Image Processing Co-Design for Image Stabilization
  6. Medium-Long Term Technology Plan

UP Overview

UP’s main objective was to mature the guidance, navigation and orientation and orbit control (GNC/AOCS) technologies that Spin.Works developed throughout the years, and apply them to two case studies – a nano-satellite (CubeSats) and a micro-satellite – from the initial development phases to implementation, testing and validation on CPU and FPGA components representative of space operations.

In parallel, UP also included the preliminary co-design and performance evaluation, in the case of micro-satellites, of an AOCS system and image processing for stabilizing a mirror mechanism for an optical Earth Observation instrument.


Objectives and Goals

The goals achieved with the execution of the UP project were:

– Implementation and operationalization of a software toolset in support of integrated AOCS subsystems development for generic space missions, and its immediate application to two case studies – a small Cubesat (1U or 2U), and a micro-satellite up to 150kg;

– Multidisciplinary preliminary design (orbit analysis, propulsion system, structure, energy production system, automatic piloting) of a micro-satellite equipped with a high-resolution optical camera (1m/pixel), guided by a mirror mechanism that allows optimize your final image quality;

– Demonstration of the ability to cover the entire AOCS software development cycle and hardware implementation, from requirements analysis to final testing and validation of the subsystem;

– Obtaining performance statistics applicable to AOCS sub-systems for CubeSats, and in particular image-aided AOCS sub-systems applied to Earth Observation micro-satellites with high-resolution optical instruments

Executive Summary

A document describing the main achievements and developments carried out in UP is available here.



T. Hormigo, D. Esteves, A. Santos, G. Afonso, F. Câmara, Autonomous interplanetary mission design in a continued high operational cost scenario, 8th ESA International Conference on Astrodynamic Tools and Techniques (ICATT), June 2021

Cofinanciado por

Other projects

The goal of New Space Portugal is to develop and launch the Atlantic Constellation, as well as the ground systems to operate it. The constellation comprises Very High Resolution satellites (with <50cm/pixel GSD), High Resolution Satellites, VDES Satellites and AIS+SAR-capable Satellites . Spin.Works will contribute with a small series of hyperspectral cameras for the HR Constellation.
The main goal of the UP project is to develop an integrated set of AOCS simulation, analysis, test & validation tools, and to apply them in the scope of a microsat and a
The main goal of the IONEA project is to develop an integrated set of test & analysis tools, image processing algorithms and an instrument with 3 navigation cameras and a dedicated payload data processor to enable fully autonomous navigation in cislunar & deep space.