Scotland’s first satellite has begun its journey to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of its planned launch on 10 February 2014 aboard a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket.
The UKube-1 nanosatellite was designed and manufactured in Glasgow by Clyde Space, which recently announced record sales figures for the satellite subsystems that it produces for major global clients.
UKube-1 is the pilot mission for a collaborative UK CubeSat programme bringing together industry and academia to fly educational packages, test new technologies and carry out space research quickly and efficiently.
CubeSats are small but sophisticated satellites that can ‘piggy-back’ on other launches to reduce the cost of space research. They can carry multiple payloads with applications ranging from astrophysics research to tracking ships or wildfires or taking high-resolution photographs.
Payloads in UKube-1 include the first GPS device aimed at measuring plasmaspheric space weather, a camera that will take images of the Earth and test the effect of radiation on space hardware using a new generation of imaging sensor and an experiment to demonstrate the feasibility of using cosmic radiation to improve the security of communications satellites and to flight-test lower-cost electronic systems. It will also carry a payload made up of five experiments that UK students and the public can interact with.
Clyde Space CEO Craig Clark said he was delighted the launch date was now in sight. “UKube-1 will be the first of many nanosatellites produced at Clyde Space and is a fantastic mission for us to demonstrate our capabilities as a spacecraft mission lead.”