South African QB50 CubeSats

CubeSats being deployed from the ISS on February 11, 2014

CubeSats being deployed from the ISS on February 11, 2014

Two South African built satellites are about to be launched to the International Space Station as part of the QB50 project.

SARL News reports:

The South African satellite industry is taking another step forward as a player in the international space arena with the launch of two South African built nanosatellites from Cape Canaveral in Florida USA.

Two CubeSats, ‘nSight1’ (QB50 AZ02) designed and manufactured by Cape Town-based SCS Space, a member of the SCS Aerospace Group and ‘ZA-Aerosat’ (QB50 AZ01) designed and manufactured by CubeSpace of the Stellenbosch University, are to be launched as part of a batch totaling 28 CubeSats from 23 different countries

The launch is set for April 18, 2017 at 15:11 GMT. Their initial destination is the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be unloaded by the ISS crew with the help of robotic arms. The satellites will eventually be deployed into low-earth orbit over a period of 30 to 60 days as the ISS orbits the Earth.

Both the South African satellites are part of the QB50 project funded by the European Union and managed by the von Karman Institute to conduct research in the lower thermosphere between 200 to 380 km altitude. The data collected from this experiment over a period of 18 months will be used to complement current atmospheric models especially applicable to re-entry trajectories of spacecraft. All CubeSats will eventually burn up at the end of their operational lifetimes.

All the CubeSats in the QB50 project will mainly operate on frequencies in the 2 m and 70 cm amateur bands. To avoid interference to terrestrial amateur radio activity the frequency was coordinated by the IARU Satellite Adviser and his advisory panel

QB50 project

JE9PEL QB50 CubeSat Frequency Spreadsheet