The UK space Agency and Astrium have just approved the final design of UKube-1 – the UK’s first CubeSat mission.
Artist's impression of UKube-1. Credit: Clydespace.
On Thursday and Friday last week (3rd and 4th November 2011), a young team of engineers from Clyde Space presented their final design to a team of experts for the Critical Design Review (CDR) – the typical ‘gateway’ for space missions to proceed into the flight build and implementation phase.
The CDR for Ukube-1 thus marks an important point in the development of the mission, establishing the robustness of the design, the level of technical risk and the schedule/resourcing for the completion of all the tasks to build the flight spacecraft.
At the CDR, the review panel scrutinised the design in detail to ensure it was sufficiently mature for flight. Key areas of focus included the structure and mechanisms, the communications system, the on board software and processing, the attitude control system and power generation.
At the end of the meeting the review board concluded that Ukube-1 had successfully passed CDR.
The next stage is the implementation of the mission that will lead to a launch on a Russian Dneper rocket (ex ICBM converted for small satellite launches) towards the end of 2012.
More on the aims and objectives of Ukube-1 can be found in the missions section of the website.
The UK Space Agency’s pilot programme to design and launch a CubeSat – a miniature cube-shaped satellite that will allow the UK to test cutting-edge new technologies in space – is now well underway. In December 2010 the payload competition for the pilot mission, UKube-1, stimulated more than 20 high quality proposals from UK industry and academia, and from these the Space Agency selected 7 excellent proposals for further development. In March 2011 four payloads were finally selected to fly on UKube-1. These will be integrated onto the spacecraft, which measures just 10cm x 10cm x 34cm, by Clyde Space. In addition UKube-1 will fly FunCube, an educational payload provided by AMSAT-UK, with the goal of enthusing and education young people about space, electronics, physics and radio.