On 8th July, a Soyuz rocket successfully launched two UK built cubesats: UKube-1 and TechDemoSat-1.
Cubesats are small satellites – normally about the size of a fridge – packed with scientific instruments.
UKube-1 is the UK Space Agency’s first cubesat mission. It is a collaboration between the UK Space Agency, industry and academia. The instruments on board include the first GPS device aimed at measuring plasmaspheric space weather; a camera that will take images of the Earth and test the effect of radiation on space hardware; an experiment to demonstrate the feasibility of using cosmic radiation to improve the security of communications satellites and flight test lower cost electronic systems; and FUNcube 2 – an educational project designed to engage and inspire school pupils.
The FUNcube payload consists of a tiny radio transmitter for science education and a materials science experiment from which school students can receive data which can be compared to results obtained from similar reference experiments in the classroom.
TechDemoSat (TDS-1) will carry no less than eight payloads plus a mixture of heritage and new product development systems from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. This satellite includes a cosmic ray detector built by students at Simon Langton Grammar School, in Kent. LUCID, The Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector, was developed by the students at the school after a trip to CERN. The LUCID experiment is part of a wider project called CERN@school, a programme that aims to bring the excitement of CERN into the classroom, and encourage the future generation of scientists