An agreement has now been reached with ISIS Launch Services BV, who are based in Delft in the Netherlands, for them to provide a launch of the FUNcube-1 CubeSat.
It is anticipated that FUNcube-1, which has been created by a team of volunteer radio amateurs and other specialists over the past two years, will be launched with a number of other spacecraft from a DNEPR rocket sometime in the third quarter of 2012. The flight is planned to take place from the Yasny launch facility which is in southern Russia near to the Kazakhstan border. The spacecraft needs to be completed by the end of July 2012, ready for shipping from the Netherlands to Russia.
The orbit is still to be defined precisely but it is expected to be nearly circular and approximately sun synchronous. This will ensure that the spacecraft has the necessary solar illumination and that it will appear at regular times for educational outreach activities at schools and colleges.
The FUNcube-1 spacecraft will transmit signals that can be easily received directly by schools and colleges for educational outreach purposes. This telemetry will give details of the spacecraft’s health – battery voltages and temperatures and from this it will be possible to determine its spin rate and attitude by plotting simple graphs. Additionally, experimental data and messages can be displayed in an attractive format and provide stimulation and encouragement for students to become interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in a unique way.
The target audience for this project is students at both primary and secondary levels and a simple and cheap “ground station” – actually it looks just like a USB dongle, for schools to use, has already been developed.
In addition to providing educational outreach for schools and colleges around the world, the spacecraft will also provide a U/V linear transponder for radio amateurs during local “night”, at weekends and during holiday periods
The production and testing of the spacecraft itself has already been funded via a legacy and other sources. It will however really help the project if radio amateurs and other interested supporters could contribute something towards the cost of the actual launch itself. With this in mind a special donation scheme has been setup using the Virgin Giving charity donation website http://tinyurl.com/funcubegiving/
All donations of £25 (or equivalent) or more will be specially acknowledged by the spacecraft itself – exact details will follow shortly!
All donations received from UK tax payers can be “Gift Aided” which will add 20% to the value of your donation.
More information about this exciting project will be made available over the coming months at the website http://www.funcube.org.uk/