Glasgow & West Scotland

First Scottish-built satellite UKube-1 to launch in 2014

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Media captionUKube-1 will be the first complete satellite to be built in Scotland

A date has been set for the launch of the first satellite to be built in Scotland.

UKube-1 will begin its journey to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this week.

The satellite will then be launched on 10 February next year aboard a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket.

UKube-1 is the UK Space Agency's first CubeSat mission. It is relatively small satellite but it will pack in several experiments.

These include FunCube, designed to engage school pupils in space, electronics, physics and radio.

CubeSats are tiny fully-functional satellites with typical mass of 4kg and dimensions of around 100mm x 100mm x 340mm.

Such nanosatellites are designed to keep costs down by piggy-backing on larger launches.

UKube-1 has been designed and built by the Glasgow company Clyde Space, at the West of Scotland Science Park in Maryhill.

They are already a market leader in small satellite systems and have just announced record sales.

'Roll on February'

Clyde Space said this would be the first of many complete satellites to be built in Scotland.

Its chief executive Craig Clark said: "The sooner it's launched the better because it will show our capabilities.

"We've been at the mercy of other people's programmes and that has caused the postponements, so roll on 10 February."

The small satellites can carry multiple payloads and their applications can be used from anything from astrophysics research to tracking ships or wildfires or taking high-resolution photographs.

Payloads in UKube-1 include the first GPS device aimed at measuring plasmaspheric space weather.

It will also carry a payload made up of five experiments that UK students and the public can interact with.

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