The First African CubeSat ZACUBE-1

Dr Sandile Malinga, CEO of the South African Space Agency
unveils South Africa’s CubeSat Program – Image credit CPUT

Since the defenceWeb article was written it is believed ZACUBE-1 and ZACUBE-2 have changed designation and the references to the 3U Cubesat ZACUBE-1 should instead read ZACUBE-2.

Students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have been building an amateur radio 3U CubeSat ZACUBE-1 that will carry out propagation research using a beacon on 14.099 MHz.

The objectives of the mission are:

1) Training of post-graduate students in Satellite Systems Engineering.

2) Earth observation using a visible band matrix imager payload and an S-Band payload data transmitter (2.4 to 2.45 GHz).

3) UHF Store & Forward system (70 cm amateur band).

4) Experimental 115200 bps L-Band to S-band data transponder.

5) HF beacon payload for characterization of Hermanus Magnetic Observatory’s Dual Auroral Radar Network antenna at SANAE base in Antarctica (14 MHz).

ZACUBE-1 will conform to the 3U CubeSat standard with a maximum separated mass of 4 kg. The spacecraft will be 3-axis stabilized using a novel Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) developed by the University of Stellenbosch. The spacecraft’s Telemetry, Tracking, and Command (TT&C) system will operate in the 70 cm band and will be commanded from the amateur ground station at CPUT.

The website defenceWeb quotes a launch date of 2013.

The IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel have agreed these frequencies:
Uplinks on 437.525 MHz and 1260.25 MHz and downlinks on 437.345 MHz and 2405.00 MHz.

Renier Siebrits ZS1MIR gave this presentation about the project on August 7, 2011.

Watch ZACUBE-1

CPUT students are currently involved in the development of a second amateur radio CubeSat, ZACUBE-2, which will be 10x10x10 cm with a mass of one kilogram.

CPUT unveils South Africa’s first CubeSat http://www.cput.ac.za/files/images_folder/news/newsletters/mojo/Moja%20Newsletter%20October%202011.pdf

CPUT CubeSat Projects http://active.cput.ac.za/fsati/public/index.asp?pageid=956

defenceWeb: South Africa’s CubeSats promoting space ambitions http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23165:south-africas-cubesats-promoting-space-ambitions&catid=90:science-a-technology&Itemid=204

Southern African Amateur Radio Satellite Association (SA AMSAT) http://www.amsatsa.org.za/

United Nations General Assembly Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space – Implementing small satellite programmes: technical, managerial, regulatory and legal issues November 28, 2011 http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/pdf/reports/ac105/AC105_1005E.pdf