Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


John Bellardo


Since their creation in 1999, CubeSats have quickly erupted into a worldwide phenomenon. With missions growing in complexity, it is often required to keep the satellite in a certain orientation appropriate to that mission. To achieve this desired orientation, CubeSats must use an attitude determination and control subsystem, commonly known as an ADCS. Tasked with creating and maintaining an appropriate orientation for the satellite, the ADCS is a complex system, and often there are difficulties verifying the functionality of such algorithms.

This thesis investigates a hardware-in-the-loop simulation based off of PolySat's software architecture that allows for a higher granularity of ADCS testing than standard unit tests do. A space environment model is simulated, and virtual sensors and actuators are created to interface the simulation with an actual ADCS process from PolySat. This allows the ADCS to attempt to orient the satellite in an environment similar to its actual operating environment. A variety of tests are conducted on the system to verify the functionality and performance of this hardware-in-the-loop system. Results reveal that the apparatus is able to provide a suitable testing environment for a CubeSat ADCS algorithm utilizing flight hardware and software.