Spinworks > VIRIATO – GNC Subsystem

VIRIATO - GNC Subsystem

The main goal of the VIRIATO project is to develop, build, validate and demonstrate an integrated prototype of a suborbital micro-launcher.

Summary

PROJECT DESIGNATION
VIRIATO – Veículo Inovador Reutilizável para Investigação e Alavancagem de Tecnologia Orbital
PROJECT CODE
POCI-01-0247-FEDER-046100
MAIN OBJECTIVE
The VIRIATO projecto (Veículo inovador reutilizável para investigação e alavancagem de tecnologia orbital) has a goal of developing and demonstrating a suborbital launch vehicle that will serve as a test plaform for several subsystems in a future portuguese microlauncher.
INTERVENTION REGION
Norte,  Centro, Lisboa e Alentejo
BENEFICIARIES ENTITIES
OMNIDEA Lda., CEIIA, TEKEVER SPACE – SISTEMAS ESPACIAIS Lda., INEGI, SPIN.WORKS S.A., INSTITUTO DE SOLDADURA E QUALIDADE, EDISOFT, UNIVERSIDADE DO PORTO, AEDCP, +ATLANTIC, UNIVERSIDADE DE ÉVORA, OPTIMAL STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS, EEA
APPROVAL DATE
23-11-2020
BEGIN DATE
01-07-2020
CONCLUSION DATE
30-06-2023
TOTAL COST
FEDER – 5.885.598,28 EUR (Project), 476.178,57 EUR (Spin.Works)
FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM EU
FEDER – 4.269.773,82 EUR (Project), 373.590,16 EUR (Spin.Works)
VIRIATO GNC Processing Board
VIRIATO GNC Hardware undergoing Vacuum Testing.
VIRIATO 6DoF Propulsion Test Bench
VIRIATO GNC - Work Breakdown Structure

Activities

  1. Project Management, Quality and Safety
  2. Platform & Structural Elements
  3. Propulsion Systems and Actuators
  4. Instrumentation and Control
  5. Ground Segment Logistics, Operations and Users
  6. Suborbital Vehicle – Integration, Test and Demonstration
  7. Outreach

The integration and eventual in-flight demonstration of the suborbital vehicle will highlight not only the capabilities of the Portuguese industry, but also the opportunity to directly enhance the vehicle through launch services. In the first case, the consortium entities will have an important opportunity to demonstrate their skills internationally and attract new customers or partners in future projects in the area, while in the second, the opportunity for direct commercial valuation also brings the possibility of getting to know and having as clients entities strongly linked to innovation, not only in the space sector but in various other fields of technology.

Spin.Works Contributions

For the VIRIATO project, Spin.Works’ work focuses entirely on PPS4 – Instrumentation & Control. The PPS4 plays a very important role in the VIRIATO project as its main objective is to develop the avionics and control systems for the launcher and test and qualify them in order to integrate the demonstrator prototype foreseen in this application.
Within the subsystems that make up the avionics systems that will be the target of research and development in this PPS, Spin.Works’ contributions will be:

  1. GNC computer – the subsystem hardware responsible for acquiring data from sensors, sending commands to actuators, and executing the GNC functions themselves. This sub-task also includes the operating system that will run on the computer;
  2. GNC software – guidance, navigation and control algorithms to control the launcher, including the entire data acquisition architecture, individual G+N+C functions and command generation;
  3. Propulsive test platform – in order to acquire and consolidate knowledge relating to the command and control of propulsive systems before final implementation on the VIRIATO rocket, a small test platform (<20kg), fully instrumented, will be built and will make a limited set of autonomous flights suspended from a cable;

The development process for these components includes the research, development, testing and validation steps necessary to ensure that the GNC subsystem has the functionality and performance necessary to integrate the proposed launcher. These phases are as follows:

  1. Requirements, Architecture and Test Plan Definition, where the requirements for the GNC subsystem will be defined; where your architecture (software+hardware) will be designed; and, where the test procedures and validation requirements essential to validate the quality of the developed subsystem will be described;
  2. Development Phase, where the subsystem will be developed and subject to a first phase of laboratory validation, using simulations or small bench tests to validate the chosen architecture;
  3. Prototyping and Testing Phase of the subsystem engineering model, where the models produced will be subject to functional, performance and environmental tests to qualify them for the demanding environment of a launcher;
  4. Production Phase of the flight model and integration of the developed subsystem;
  5. Final Validation and Qualification Testing Phase with integrated avionics systems.

Goals

The VIRIATO project intends to be a fundamental step towards establishing an essentially native capability to perform a space launch. The interest in developing this capability comes essentially from two factors:

  • the significant growth, both seen in the last decade and that is expected to last into the 2020s, in several industries linked to space, and
  • the first steps already taken in Portugal towards establishing a launch base in the Azores.

In this context, the VIRIATO project aims to develop and demonstrate a national suborbital vehicle that, in addition to its potential effective uses, will serve as a platform for the
development of native technologies applicable to orbital launchers and eventually, a Portuguese micro-launcher.

To achieve these goals, a consortium was brought together that encompasses a relevant fraction of the national space industry, with demonstrated skills in key areas such as space propulsion, flight-capable avionics, flight control systems, high-performance structures and operations support equipment. This consortium not only has years of experience resulting from the available human resources allocated to research and development, but also a set of equipment and infrastructure that will facilitate the successful execution of the project.

The VIRIATO 6DoF Propulsion Test Bench
The VIRIATO Propulsive Test Platform (PTP) used to validate GNC algorithms prior to full-scale testing.
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