UKube-1 the UK Space Agency’s (UKSA) first satellite has ‘booked’ its journey into space on a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket. The launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan is expected to take place in March 2013. UKube-1 has also completed Thermal Vacuum Testing to verify the spacecraft operation in a simulated space environment.
UKube-1 will carry a set of AMSAT-UK FUNcube boards to provide a 435/145 MHz linear transponder and a 145.915 MHz BPSK telemetry beacon for educational outreach.
In preparation for launch, Clyde Space is taking the spacecraft through Environmental Verification Test, which consists of a series of physical assessments of the spacecraft’s ability to survive the launch and operate in a space environment. Last week, UKube-1 and Clyde Space engineers spent a week at Astrium (UK) in Stevenage taking the spacecraft through Thermal Vacuum Testing. This involved evaluating the spacecraft’s performance in a variety of operational modes to verify that all subsystems and payloads performed as expected in high vacuum and at temperature extremes.
“Thermal vacuum testing is one of the most important phases in the spacecraft test program,” says Craig Clark, CEO at Clyde Space. “I’m proud of the team here at Clyde Space in achieving such a critical milestone in the mission. Ukube-1 aims to be the first of many nanosatellites produced at Clyde Space, and UKube-1 is a fantastic mission for us to demonstrate our capabilities as a spacecraft mission prime.”
UKube-1 is now entering the final testing phase, including further system level testing at Clyde Space and a functional check-out at the launch site. The next key test is EMC testing, closely followed by vibration testing, after which the spacecraft will be ready for launch.