UK Space Agency
This project has been one of our most exciting projects to date. Not only is it one of the most advanced Nanosatellite ever made, it is also the first satellite to be designed and built in Scotland, a fact that we are very proud of.
The project has been jointly funded by Clyde Space and the UK Space Agency, and is also the first mission to be commissioned by the UK Space Agency when it was formed in 2010. If you're wondering where the name came from, well, it's the combination of 'UK' and 'Cube' (as in, short for 'CubeSat'). 'UK' is important as it reflects the fact that the payloads flying on UKube-1 come from across the United Kingdom.
Despite its size, UKube-1 has a huge ambition and goals. Here's what we set out to demonstrate at the start of the project:
- New UK space technology.
- The capability of useful science to be performed within a CubeSat sized spacecraft.
- Industry and university based training in spacecraft development.
- Education and outreach in STEM subjects.
- Payload Kick-Off to flight qualified spacecraft in less than 12 months.
UKube-1 is the most advanced 3U cubesat of its kind and will test several new technologies in space. The payloads flying on UKube-1 were selected following a competition run by the UK Space Agency to find the most innovative and creative payloads in the UK for a CubeSat. The competition received more than 20 payload submissions, several of which are also being considered for future missions.
We also have an advanced On-Board Computer (OBC) from a company in Glasgow (Steepest Ascent) and an S-Band Transmitter from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The success of UKube-1 not only highlights the skills and capabilities we have at Clyde Space in priming a full spacecraft mission, it also shows that space research can be carried out quickly at a relatively low cost.
UKube-1 is essentially a technology demonstration mission and most of the payloads on UKube-1 are already being used on other CubeSat missions throughout the World.
Clyde Space has developed a standardised, professional Cubesat solution that could be repeated for future use and even mass-marketed for constellations. We have pioneered a cheaper solution which opens up many possibilities for the future.
Our experience has taken us from a subsystem to a system contractor meaning we now have even more to offer our customers. We have introduced standardisation and professionalism to the development of complete Cubesat solutions.
Since the start of our involvement with the UKube-1 mission, we have received a surge in interest for our cubesat products. This is mainly due to the advanced technology we were able to demonstrate in the mission. For example, our S-band transmitter offers the highest datarate of any others on the market at the moment and our platforms/software have proven very reliable.