AEROS-Az Constellation

Development of a Nanosatellite platform as a precursor of a future constellation to leverage the Space/Ocean scientific and economic synergies.

AEROS will develop and launch into orbit a new nanosatellite platform as a precursor to a future constellation that can leverage the great potential of the study of the Earth, its oceans and atmosphere in liaison with advanced communications technologies to deliver tangible scientific and economic value to society.

One of the most valuable resources we have to protect are the world’s Oceans. They have a prominent role in the Earth ecosystem, as they cover most of the Earth’s surface, contain millions of plants and animals, influence global weather, and produce about 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe. Oceans are thus essential for technological, scientific, economic and social development, having enabled exploration and commerce for hundreds of years. As Portugal starts to assume a stronger position as a robust space-faring nation, the project looks for the scientific and economic synergies from New Space technologies and opportunities that could be leveraged to prospect, monitor and value the Oceans in a sustainable manner, aligned with both the “Atlantic Interactions” research agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

AEROS is an integrated system of assets and capabilities including different existing, improved, and new platforms operating in the Ocean and Space, equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and technologies, all connected through a communication network linked to a data gathering, processing and dissemination system.

OBJECTIVES: Scientific (SO), Technological (TO) & Entrepreneurial (EO)

Develop two nanosatellite instrument modules:

  1. a reflectometry system for sea surface height and roughness and
  2. an optical spectrometer for ocean color, fronts and fauna location

Advance the scientific knowledge and the development of capabilities within the European community, promote the dissemination to the public and raise its awareness to the space industry and its benefits to society.

Develop a nanosatellite software defined radio (SDR) compatible with other nanosatellite and ocean deployed sensors such as those on autonomous vehicles and on biologging technology for sharks and mantas.

Develop a nanosatellite platform to support future ocean properties instruments.

Leverage open-source nanosatellite software and develop payload software interfaces for ocean properties instruments.

Develop mission operations and data processing algorithms using Big Data typical algorithms for different stakeholders such as environmental stewardship, commerce, and tourism.


The focus of this activity is to establish the main use cases of the future nano satellite constellation, combining scientific and engineering goals in a single system, promoting synergies between both. From these use cases a set of requirements will be derived, which will guide the next developments. These requirements shall be related with both mission definition and satellite and constellation characteristics, like payloads, ground segment, launcher and on-board systems.

This activity aims to research, develop and test the hardware of the satellite platform. An engineering model and a flight model will be built during this phase and extensively tested to later be used as the demonstrator of the future constellation. New materials and manufacturing techniques will be extensively applied to maximize the platform potential and minimize associated development and launch costs.

Together with the hardware, the objective of this activity is to develop a reliable and efficient on-board software for the platform, which will be tested before implementation to assure proper operation of the platform hardware and the payload, in particular:

  • Control the satellite attitude
  • Perform the communications (using Software Defined Radio)
  • Manage the Health of the satellite
  • Communicate with the satellite payload and perform any associated data processing
  • Control the satellite power system

This software shall be adaptable to answer different platform needs and configurations, to be used across the future constellation.

In parallel to platform development, this activity focus on the development, testing and preparation for assembly of the selected payloads. This includes the necessary hardware and software to be installed on the platform, as well as any ground tests needed.

The aim is to prepare the ground segment infrastructure that will support the operation of the precursor mission, already aiming for the future constellation. It includes the ground communication link, to be able to send/receive satellite management information and payload data, a control center and a Data Analysis Centre together with the necessary models and methods, including AI algorithms, to be employed on the ground for processing the data acquired. The full Assembly, Integration, Test and Launch (AITL) procedures, including tests/inspections/reviews that ensure the correct operational performance of the satellite, will be prepared and implemented within this activity.

The two main objectives of this activity are the launch of the nanosatellite platform and its demonstration. Together with all partners the operation of the satellite, networked with autonomous vehicles, will be overseen, which will feed the Data Analysis Centre. After processing the available data, the information generated will be distributed, illustrating the purpose of the future constellation.

The main objective of this activity is to manage the project, i.e. lead the technical, scientific, financial and administrative tasks. This will be achieved through carefully managed activities with clear outputs and ensure that high quality research and development is undertaken by closely monitoring the successful completion of all actions. It includes also the report to the funding entity updated information on project milestone achievements and activities under risk to develop mitigation actions, ensuring that overall project goals are not dismissed. Another main objective is the dissemination activities to ensure that the project research and practical outcomes are widely disseminated to the selected target audiences at appropriate times.

Learn more about the project

MITPortugal project webpage: here.


Jorge Fontes


The project is coordinated by:


The project is financed by:

Mainland Portugal & USA - Partners:

Mainland Portugal & USA - The project is financed by:

Azores counterpart of AEROS project (reference ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000131) was approved within the scope of the ACORES-45-2019-11 Notice (in connection with the National Notice AAC 04 / SI / 2019 – Projects in co-promotion – International partnerships (MIT-Portugal, UTA-Portugal and CMU-Portugal).

Ficha Técnica AÇORES2020 – FEDER.