Nano-satellite sees Glasgow go into space

IT'S a space satellite – but not as we know it.

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Built in Glasgow, no bigger than a desktop computer and weighing in at just 11lbs, the nano-satellite will orbit the earth more than 400 miles up in space and will transmit vital information back.

The UKube-1, made at the West of Scotland Science Park, at Maryhill, took two years from concept to completion and is the latest product from Clyde Space.

The city-based firm employs 20 staff and is a leading producer of small satellites and nano-satellites.

The firm specialises in "CubeSat" systems, which piggy back other spacecraft to minimise launch costs and maximise the commercial aspects of space research.

Major defence companies and academic teams around the world are among its clients including Nasa and the US Air Force.

Clyde Space is planning to expand next year by opening a new, US office.

Once in Earth orbit, UKube-1's will conduct a series of experiments using global positioning system technology to measure space weather and to test how cosmic radiation can be harnessed to improve the security of communication satellites.

On board will be a payload of up to five experiments, which students in Britain and the public at large can interact with.

There will also be an outreach programme for school pupils.

First Minister Alex Salmond visited the company before UKube-1 is taken to Kazakhstan where it will be launched on a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket later this year.

He said: "By pioneering a cost-effective way of supporting more space research, the Clyde Space team is building on a strong heritage of engineering, ingenuity and innovation."

Mr Salmond added: "It is great to see up close Scotland's first space satellite."

Clyde Space chief executive Craig Clark, said: "UKube-1 is the first spacecraft to be designed and built in Scotland. If we are successful in our business plan, it will be the first of many more Scottish satellites."

The Glasgow business is being backed by Scottish Enterprise with chief executive Lena Wilson, said: "The global space industry is forecast to be worth £400 billion by 2030 so there's huge opportunity for innovative companies like Clyde Space to grab a share of this international market."

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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