City-made satellite is ready for launch

A SATELLITE designed and built in Glasgow was due to be launched today from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Clyde Space Chief Executive Craig Clark shows an engineering model structure of UKube-1
Clyde Space Chief Executive Craig Clark shows an engineering model structure of UKube-1

Made by Clyde Space, based at West of Scotland Science Park, in Maryhill, UKube-1 was to take off on a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket.

The £150,000 nano-satellite, which is the size of a shoe box, could be used to provide service for smartphones.

Clyde Space Chief Executive Craig Clark said: "UKube-1 has been years in the making, with a great deal of hard work from our fantastic Clyde Space team, from securing the funding through to bolting the spacecraft to the launch vehicle last week.

"There's nothing easy about designing a space-craft, so the achievement is a testament to the capability and applica-tion of the team here."

Andrew Strain, Vice-President Engineering, recently returned from Kazakhstan where he supervised the integration of UKube-1 on to the rocket at Launch Site 31.

He said: "UKube-1 shipped out six months ago, so our first task was to make sure everything was still healthy.

"The beauty of the CubeSat is that at the launch site we were able to set up the test kit and do all the checks within a few hours, confirming we were good to go. Once that was done, all that remained was to bolt the satellite to the launcher and wait for take off."

Payloads in UKube-1 include the first GPS device aimed at meas-uring plasmaspheric space weather, a camera that will take images of the earth and test the effect of radiation on space hardware.

It will also carry five experiments that students and the public can interact with, including FunCube, which is designed to engage school pupils in space, electronics, physics and radio.

Mr Clark said the satellite is "the first of many" that will be produced in Glasgow in the coming years.

He said: "The tiny spacecraft we specialise in are analogous to the smartphones of the computer industry; they are capable bits of kit and we expect them to be a major part of providing services from space in the near future.

"Due to their relatively low launch cost, we are selling high performance spacecraft to a world-wide customer base for less than £150,000 each."

peter.swindon@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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