CPUT planning successor to Africa’s first nanosatellite

ZACube-2 Conceptual Layout

ZACube-2 Conceptual Layout

Following on the successes of ZACube-1, a.k.a. TshepisoSat, ZACube-2 is the second instalment in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) F’SATI mission series.

The satellite will serve as technology demonstrator for essential subsystems and form the basis on which an innovative Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform will be developed as primary payload. The SDR is highly flexible to address a wide range of communication needs and will be a test bed to validate vessel detection. Additionally, the satellite will feature a medium resolution imager as secondary payload to demonstrate the feasibility of future remote sensing applications such as ocean colour monitoring and large fire tracking.

This paper details the conceptual design and highlights the choices made around the proposed development

Read the recent article by Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV in EngineerIT magazine at

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

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