Course detail

Nanosatellite Design and Electronics

FEKT-MPA-NDEAcad. year: 2022/2023

Students will become familiar with CubeSat and PocketQube format satellites, their mechanical structure and in detail with individual electronic systems - OBC computer, ADCS position control, COM radio communication, EPS power supply system. They will learn to design systems with regard to functional safety, incl. relevant pre-start tests. They will get acquainted with the specifics of communication with small satellites, the concept of a terrestrial command station and telemetry decoding. The end of the course and laboratory exercises are devoted to the practical implementation of nanosatellites.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The graduate is able to: (a) describe the nanosatellite structure of the CubeSat and PocketQube formats; (b) describe the basic electronic systems of a nanosatellite; (c) evaluate functional safety and necessary tests; (d) define the requirements for the design of a selected nanosatellite subsystem and its integration.


Attendant should be able to:
- explain the basic principles of electromagnetic wave propagation in free space and in the atmosphere
- use a logarithmic expression of ratios and power levels
- quantify the energy balance of a radio link
- evaluate the basic types of satellite orbits and characterize their parameters
The subject knowledge on the Bachelor's degree level is requested.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.


MARAL, G., BOUSQUET, M. Satellite Communication Systems. 5. ed. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. 685 s. ISBN: 978-0-470-71458-4. (EN)
CAPPELLETTI, C., BATTISTINI, S., MALPHRUS, B. CubeSat Handbook. 1. ed. London: Academic Press. 498 s. ISBN: 978-0-12-817884-3. (EN)
CubeSat 101: Basic Concepts and Processes for First-Time CubeSat Developers. NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. 96 s. Available: [online]. (EN)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in the article 7 of BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Students can receive a maximum of 40 points for active work in laboratory exercises. The final exam is evaluated with a maximum of 60 points.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Nanosatellites basics, CubeSat and PocketQube. Development cycle. Target payloads. Orbit.
2. Mechanical structure. Deployer, ride-shared missions. Orientation, propulsion options. Antennas and their release.
3. Nanosatellite electronics. Computer (OBC), attitude control (ADCS), radio communication.
4. Electrical power system (EPS), solar panels, batteries. Energy budget, monitoring.
5. Functional safety, hardware and firmware requirements. Redundancy. Latch-up, watchdog.
6. Applications and scientific missions of nanosatellites. ESA projects.
7. Internal connections, I2C, CAN, TCP/IP. CubeSat Space Protocol, AX.25. Data budget.
8. Communication, modulation, radio link budget. Doppler effect, frequency stability.
9. Ground station. Transceiver, rotator, TNC. Telemetry reception. Satellite tracking, TLE, SatNOGS network.
10. Pre-start tests. Vibration, temperature, vacuum. Thermal design.
11. Practical realizations I.
12. Practical realizations II.
13. Practical realizations III.


The aim of the course is to provide students with a basic orientation in the issue of nanosatellites such as CubeSat and PocketQube, to familiarize them with the basic components, structure and procedures in their design. An important part of the course are the practical implementation of satellites.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

The content and forms of instruction in the evaluated course are specified by a regulation issued by the lecturer responsible for the course and updated for every academic year.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPA-SAP Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Laboratory exercise

26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer