A 'pocket' spacecraft that will enable students and amateur astronomers to get involved in a space mission will be part of the UK's first mini satellite 'CubeSat' mission - UKube-1. The UK Space Agency has announced (17 March 2011) the results of its payload competition and revealed all of the instruments and experiments that will be launched into orbit onboard the spacecraft in 2012.
UKube-1 - a nanosatellite that will allow the UK to test new technologies and carry out new space research quickly and efficiently - is an exciting and novel collaboration between the UK Space Agency, industry and academia. It is envisaged as the pilot for a full national CubeSat programme. Among the other experiments chosen are the first GPS device to measure 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.
The STFC is one of the funding partners for Ukube-1, and RAL Space, based at its Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire leads on the provision of three ground stations for the mission, including one based at RAL itself. The supporting ground stations are provided by Dundee and Strathclyde Universities. These crucial elements will provide the link to the orbiting spacecraft, as well as full planning of the operations.
More details can be found in the UKSA press release (link opens in a new window).
For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries