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

Open Mission Control Software for Satellite & Balloon Projects

Open Mission Control

Open Mission Control

Open Mission Control is open source, open access software for monitoring and controlling small spacecraft or balloon projects.

The software is designed to provide an application and framework that can be adapted quickly and easily to support a variety of spacecraft including CubeSats, myPocketQubs and NanoLab experiments, and sounding rocket and high altitude balloon experiments.

The team include students, space professionals, educators and enthusiasts from around the world, all working together to build a great mission control application for small spacecraft projects.

The Open Mission Control framework consists of the application and graphical user interface which contain the basic structure of the program, and the Open Mission Control toolbox, which provides a number of ready to use functions typically required for mission control applications.

The Open Mission Control application and graphical user interface can be adapted to a project quickly and easily, by populating them with elements from the Open Mission Control toolbox and other standard library elements. This approach allows also users with limited programming experience to create sophisticated mission control software by building on a solid basic implementation.

Designed to work with any spacecraft project, the first flight mission that is expected to use Open Mission Control is myPocketQub442. Developed by UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) myPocketQub442 was selected to fly as a pocket spacecraft attached to UKube-1, the first United Kingdom Space Agency CubeSat. It is expected to be the first mission controlled by Open Mission Control and to demonstrate and verify various use cases:

+ The first use case is for professional monitoring, command and control of a real spacecraft.

+ The second use case involves schools and universities using Open Mission Control to upload their virtual payloads for their OpenSpace365 projects, monitor their experiments as they run and download the data for analysis.

+ The third use case involves the use of Open Mission Control as monitoring software for the various scientific and engineering sub-payloads that will fly on myPocketQub442. The students conducting these experiments will use Open Mission Control to access and store the data from these payload experiments for analysis and research.

+ The fourth use case is communication with engineering models of the real spacecraft which will be made available on the Internet. These engineering models are duplicates of the flight hardware and allow Open Mission Control to command and monitor them and their sub-payloads in real time and to simulate different critical mission phases under real conditions.

Additional information and links are available on the Open Mission Control webpage at:

UKSEDS – Students for the Exploration and Development of Space

Artists impression of UKube-1 in orbit

Artists impression of UKube-1 in orbit

Members of UKSEDS are developing an amateur radio satellite payload called myPocketQub442 (437.425-437.525 MHz) that will fly on the UKube-1 satellite towards the end of the year.

UKSEDS is a space enthusiast organisation for both school and university students. Anyone who is interested can become a member of UKSEDS, young or old, student or non-student. Its aims are:

– To promote the exploration of space, and the research and development of space-related technologies.
– To provide a forum through which students can become involved in the international space community.
– To motivate students to excel in space-related fields.
– To share in the advancing knowledge and growing benefits to be reaped from space.
– To improve space-related education through both academic work and hands-on projects.

UKSEDS holds an annual National Conference, which brings together students throughout the country to learn more about space and to meet professionals in the space business.

Their myPocketQub442 project has been selected to fly on the UK Space Agency’s first mission UKube-1. Read all about it at

Members of the group took part in a parabolic flight on which they tested the hinges that deploy the solar panels of UKube-1.

Watch Microgravity-on-Demand 1/20111120/P11/3D1L raw video

OpenSpace365 myPocketQub442 List of Missions

If you are interested in setting up a UKSEDS branch at your school or university please see