Bath TOPCAT Project

Talini holding a mockup of a cubesat (for testing antenna perfomance)

Talini holding a mockup of a cubesat (for testing antenna perfomance)

TOPCAT (TOPside ionosphere Computer Assisted Tomography) is a payload being developed at the University of Bath that will be launched on the UK’s first 3U CubeSat, UKube-1, next year.

The TOPCAT payload will consist of a specialised dual-frequency GPS receiver that is suitable for operation in the space environment. It will be used to study space weather, by observing the upper ionosphere, and the plasmasphere. (The ionosphere is the region in the upper extremes of the atmosphere, where the gas is partially ionized. The plasmasphere is a torus-shaped region of plasma surrounding the Earth, extending outwards to a distance of about 30,000km.)

The TOPCAT payload is being developed by first year PhD student Talini Pinto Jayawardena (a Bath Space Science and Technology MEng graduate) together with staff members Cathryn Mitchell, Robert Watson and Julian Rose.

A video of the TOPCAT board has been released, the YouTube description says:
Today we reflowed components onto one of the prototype PCBs. As you can see, we used a bit too much solder! The video is 50% faster than real-time, and starts just before the solder paste starts to melt (around 240 degrees C).
See for more information.

Watch Reflowing a TOPCAT prototype PCB

The AMSAT-UK FUNcube boards containing an Amateur Radio 435/145 MHz linear transponder will also be on UKube-1.

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Yahoo Group