The UK Space Agency issued an Announcement of Opportunity for payload providers for its pilot CubeSat mission, UKube1, in December 2010. The aims of the mission are: 1) to facilitate rapid and cost-effective in-flight demonstration of innovative technologies developed by UK industry and academia; 2) to provide in-orbit, hands-on tools for science education, training and outreach in UK universities and schools, in line with the government’s STEM agenda.
More than twenty high-quality proposals were received in response to the AO. After detailed evaluation by a UK Space Agency review panel, a total of seven of the candidate payloads have been selected for the next round of the competition. (Evaluation criteria are posted with the payload AO)
The final down-selection will take place in March 2011, with three or four payloads to be selected, depending on mass budget and other considerations. An overview of the seven candidate payloads is provided below (in no particular order), together with information on the AMSAT UK FunCube telemetry system for science education, which will be integrated with the spacecraft as part of the programme.
Payloads 1-7 (link opens in a new window)
Astrium is providing project and engineering management support to the UK Space Agency for UKube-1. This involves systems support and technical advice to Prime, as well as programme management and engineering review support services to the UK Space Agency. Areas covered include requirements analysis, Design reviews, launch procurement, launch license, Announcement of Opportunities for partnerships and payload management.
Additional industry support
Several companies have kindly offered support:
Isotron (link opens in a new window), have offered complimentary radiation testing services for components of the UKube1 payloads;
Solidworks Corp (link opens in a new window), have offered to provide at no cost 3D modelling software to university/school teams for use in the payload design