UKube-1: 4 payloads

Rt Hon David Willetts MP learns about UKube-1 visiting Clyde space, seeing the clean rooms and talking to Craig Clark about CubeSat components. Courtesy


The UK Space Agency’s pilot programme has narrowed down from a total of 20 proposals to four payloads to fly on Ukube-1 from UK industry and academia.

Payloads chosen include a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) Imager Demonstrator, a specialist imaging device to measure radiation damage in space developed by the Open University and Essex-based e2v technologies.

Another, the United Kingdom Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) payload, myPocketQub442, is an open source system comprising five experiments, one of which will allow school pupils, university students and hobbyists to run their own experiments in space for a day.

The other two payloads are the EADS Astrium , which will test random number generation crucial to secure communications systems in the radiation environment, and TOPCAT, a system designed by the University of Bath to measure space weather conditions which can adversely affect global positioning systems (GPS).

UKube-1 will also take an educational subsystem called FUNcube, developed by the voluntary organisation AMSAT-UK, to encourage young people to learn about radio, space, physics and electronics.

The spacecraft is being developed through a knowledge transfer project with Scottish spacecraft system developer Glasgow based Clyde Space and the University of Strathclyde, which Clyde Space is also funding.

One of the world’s leading firms in the micro spacecraft sector, dubbed CubeSat , Clyde Space has made components for about 40% of the 600 CubeSats launched globally so far. It also makes components for larger satellites.

Ukube-1 is also being funded by the UK Space Agency, the Technology Strategy Board and The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The agency is currently in negotiations to find a launch vehicle to take the Ukube-1 satellite into space.

UKSEDS – Students for the Exploration and Development of Space

Bath TOPCAT Project