Presentation in French
AMSAT-NL is delighted to announce that an initial series of tests of the FUNcube transponder payload aboard the QB50p1 CubeSat have been successfully completed.
QB50p1 is one of two QB50 precursor spacecraft that were launched from Yasny in Russia in June 2014.
The primary science payloads are still being extensively tested but it has now been possible to undertake a short test of the transponder payload as well. The transponder is intended as a long term secondary mission following the initial technology demonstration and de-risking phase.
After spending ten months in space, the transponder was commanded on for short periods during each of the three morning passes over Europe on Monday 27th April 2015. A number of FUNcube team members in the Netherlands and in the UK were standing by to run through a predefined test plan.
The transponder appears to have a similar performance to that of FUNcube-1 but the passband is nominally 5 kHz wider by design.
It is not yet known when this transponder may be available for regular usage but AMSAT-NL is delighted to be able to report that the hardware is functioning and is very grateful to the QB50 project, the von Karman Institute and ISIS B.V. for their ongoing support.
More information about the QB50 project can be found at https://www.qb50.eu/
The first Belgium nanosatellites were successfully deployed this night in low earth orbit (600km altitude). This launch of two nanosatellites is the first application of the Belgian space law adopted in 2005 and revised at the end of 2013. Thanks to this legal framework, Belgium can authorize and supervise satellite missions in full accordance with the international treaties, the associated safety standards and the mitigation of space debris.
The embarked satellites are so called double CubeSats, having a 10 cm x 10 cm x 20 cm volume with a mass of less than 2 kg. They have been designed, manufactured and tested by several partners: the von Karman Institute VKI (BE), ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space (NL), Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UK), Technische Universitat Dresden (DE), Surrey Space Center (UK) and AMSAT (FR/NL).
The launch has been procured by the QB50 project, an EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) funded project. This launch mission, entrusted to ISIS, took place out of the base of Yasny in southern Russia, with a DNEPR rocket at 21:11 (Belgian time). The nanosatellites currently flying around the Earth at a velocity of about 7,5 km per second are already transmitting scientific and technological data to ground stations all around the world.
This successful launch is the precursor flight ahead of the main QB50 mission. QB50 is a space project led by a consortium of 15 international partners. The project foresees to send in 2016 into a low earth orbit a set of 50 CubeSats. 45 of those CubeSats will form a constellation and will investigate the lower thermosphere, one of the layers more rarely investigated. The remaining CubeSats will carry some technologies to be tested in orbit. Amongst them, the re-entry CubeSat of the von Karman Institute will be equipped with a thermal shield to allow the CubeSat to be saved during its reentry in the Earth atmosphere.
Philippe Courard, secretary of state for Science Policy, delivered his first mission launch authorization under Belgian jurisdiction. He expresses : “Belgium, the leader country in the space domain, has taken two new steps: Belgium took over responsibility of a mission launch and sent its first satellites into orbit.” He adds: “The Belgian Know-how in satellite development is widely recognized: for example, the PROBA satellites have been manufactured by the Belgian industry in the framework of the European Space Agency. The QB50 satellites were developed and launched under the jurisdiction of Belgium. This successful mission launch stresses the relevance of the investment made in the space research and innovation during the last 50 years. It’s a major event for our space policy.”
As the coordinator of the QB50 project, the von Karman Institute is very proud with this unprecedented precursor launch.
About QB50: www.qb50.eu
picture credientials ISL BV, NL
The QB50 project has reached another crucial milestone. The first two QB50 satellites have been delivered for shipment to the launch site after a successful flight acceptance test campaign. The satellites will form the QB50 Precursor mission that seeks to de-risk and validate key technologies of the QB50 main flight that will be performed in the coming years.
The following payloads were integrated into the ISIS satellite platforms:
The project was executed to an unprecedented timeline. Formal Kick-Off was in October 2013 and all hardware from the different partners was delivered for integration into the satellites in January 2014. This means that two satellites were delivered in just over 6 months. Furthermore, with a precursor launch scheduled in June, launch and operations will commence within 9 months of project Kick-Off.
This fast-track project shows how successful a close cooperation between academic institutes and experienced companies can be. With ISIS’ experienced team of engineers that design and build nanosatellites on a regular basis (ISIS remains on track to delivering 1 satellite system per month in 2014), throughput times of nanosatellite projects can be shortened significantly.
The upcoming launch of the QB50 precursor satellites will also be the first satellites to be launched that were funded through the EU’s FP7 space technology programme, in which a number of innovative small satellites will be launched in the coming years to demonstrate new European space technologies.
The lessons learned from the QB50 Precursor development and operations have already led to many recommendations to further improve and streamline the QB50 main flight. All teams involved in QB50 stand to benefit from the experiences gained over the last months.
About QB50: www.qb50.eu