Course detail

Nanosatellite Design and Electronics

FEKT-MPA-NDEAcad. year: 2023/2024

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.

Language of instruction


Number of ECTS credits


Mode of study

Not applicable.

Entry knowledge

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.

Rules for evaluation and completion of the course

Students can receive a maximum of 40 points for active work in laboratory exercises. Credit is awarded after completion of lessons with compulsory attendance. The final exam is evaluated with a maximum of 60 points.
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.


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.
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.

Study aids

Not applicable.

Prerequisites and corequisites

Not applicable.

Basic literature

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)

Recommended reading

Not applicable.


Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPA-CAN Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory-optional
  • Programme MPAD-CAN Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory-optional
  • Programme MPC-EKT Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory-optional
  • Programme MPA-SAP Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory
  • Programme MPA-TEC Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory
  • Programme MPAJ-TEC Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory

Type of course unit



13 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


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

Laboratory exercise

39 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


Laboratory exercises without fixed curriculum, team projects with individual approach focused on minimal versions of nanosatellite subsystems such as OBC, radio, EPS, ADCS. Includes ongoing presentations of development progress, documentation creation, and final project presentation.