Inaugural Scottish satellite ready for launch

Inaugural Scottish satellite ready for launch

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Russia: UKube-1 – the UK”s first CubeSat mission and Scotland”s first satellite -has ‘booked” its journey into space on a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket. The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan is expected to take place in March 2013. UKube-1 has also completed Thermal Vacuum Testing to verify the spacecraft operation in a simulated space environment.

In preparation for launch, Clyde Space is taking the spacecraft through Environmental Verification Test, which consists of a series of physical assessments of the spacecraft”s ability to survive the launch and operate in a space environment.

“Thermal vacuum testing is one of the most important phases in the spacecraft test program,” says Craig Clark, CEO at Clyde Space. “I”m proud of the team here at Clyde Space in achieving such a critical milestone in the mission. Ukube-1 aims to be the first of many nanosatellites produced at Clyde Space, and UKube-1 is a fantastic mission for us to demonstrate our capabilities as a spacecraft mission prime.”

Ukube-1 is now entering the final testing phase, including further system level testing at Clyde Space and a functional check-out at the launch site. The next key test is EMC testing, closely followed by vibration testing, after which the spacecraft will be ready for launch.

The UKube-1 nanosatellite has been designed and manufactured by Clyde Space at their high-tech facility on the West of Scotland Science Park in Glasgow. The nanosatellite is one of the most advanced of its kind, the complexity of the spacecraft highlighted by the nature of the 6 independent, advanced payloads being flown by the mission. The UKube-1 mission is the pilot for a collaborative, national CubeSat programme bringing together UK industry and academia to fly educational packages, test new technologies and carry out new space research quickly and efficiently.

Payloads in UKube-1 include: the first GPS device aimed at measuring plasmaspheric space weather; a camera that will take images of the Earth, and test the effect of radiation on space hardware, using a new generation of imaging sensor; an experiment to demonstrate the feasibility of using cosmic radiation to improve the security of communications satellites and to flight test lower cost electronic systems; an advanced mission interface computer to enable serious number crunching on tiny spacecraft; a high rate S-Band transmitter and patch antenna; a payload made up of 5 experiments that UK students and the public can interact with. There is also an outreach payload that allows school children to interact with the spacecraft.

Source: Clyde Space