Two QB50 satellites with ham radio payloads delivered

QB50p1 and QB50p2 - Image Credit ISIS

QB50p1 and QB50p2 – Image Credit ISIS

The QB50 project has reached another crucial milestone. The first two QB50 satellites have been delivered for shipment to the launch site after a successful flight acceptance test campaign. The satellites will form the QB50 Precursor mission that seeks to de-risk and validate key technologies of the QB50 main flight that will be performed in the coming years.

The launch is planned for June 19, 2014 from the Russian ICBM base at Dombarovsky near Yasny on a Dnepr rocket manufactured in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The satellites will be put into a 650 km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

A Dnepr Launch - Credit ISC Kosmotras

A Dnepr Launch – Credit ISC Kosmotras

The following payloads were integrated into the ISIS satellite platforms:

• INMS Payload from MSSL, UK
• QB50 ADCS system from SSC, UK
• Thermocouple experiment from VKI, Belgium
• AMSAT-NL 435/145 MHz linear transponder (FUNcube-3) from AMSAT-NL, The Netherlands

• FIPEX Payload, University of Dresden, Germany
• QB50 ADCS system from SSC, UK
• Thermocouple experiment from VKI, Belgium
• AMSAT-Fr 435/145 MHz FM voice transponder from AMSAT Francophone, France

QB50p1 (FUNcube-3) has a VHF 9600 bps BPSK telemetry downlink plus a linear U/V transponder similar to that already flying on FUNcube-1 with an output of 400 mW.
• 145.815 MHz 9600 bps BPSK telemetry beacon
• Inverting SSB/CW linear transponder 400 mW PEP
– 435.035 – 435.065 MHz Uplink LSB
– 145.935 – 145.965 MHz Downlink USB

QB50p2 has  a VHF 9600 bps BPSK telemetry downlink plus a separate RF payload from AMSAT-Francophone which will comprise of a FM voice transponder with UHF uplink and VHF downlink. It will also transmit FX25 telemetry at 9600 bps.
• 145.880 MHz 9600 bps BPSK telemetry beacon
• 145.840 MHz 9600 bps FSK FX25

QB50p CubeSats

QB50p CubeSats

The project was executed to an unprecedented timeline. Formal Kick-Off was in October 2013 and all hardware from the different partners was delivered for integration into the satellites in January  2014. This means that two satellites were delivered in just over 6 months. Furthermore, with a precursor launch scheduled in June, launch and operations will commence within 9 months of project Kick-Off.

This fast-track project shows how successful a close cooperation between academic institutes and experienced companies can be. With ISIS’ experienced team of engineers that design and build nanosatellites on a regular basis (ISIS remains on track to delivering 1 satellite system per month in 2014), throughput times of nanosatellite projects can be shortened significantly.

The upcoming launch of the QB50 precursor satellites will also be the first satellites to be launched that were funded through the EU’s FP7 space technology programme, in which a number of innovative small satellites will be launched in the coming years to demonstrate new European space technologies.

The lessons learned from the QB50 Precursor development and operations have already led to many recommendations to further improve and streamline the QB50 main flight. All teams involved in QB50 stand to benefit from the experiences gained over the last months.




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