Scotland's pioneering spacecraft manufacturer, Clyde Space, has designed and built two advanced nanosatellites for Canadian company, Kepler Communications. The first spacecraft, KIPP, was successfully launched into Low Earth Orbit on Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre (JSLC) in North-western China. Kepler made contact with KIPP a few hours later on Friday morning with all spacecraft systems performing as planned.
The cutting-edge Clyde Space nanosatellites, built in the heart of Glasgow, will support Kepler Communications in deploying its in-space telecommunications network, which will relay data for devices deployed in remote regions. This pilot satellite, an advanced 3U CubeSat, carries Kepler’s novel Software Defined Radio (SDR) and antenna array making the company the first commercial company to launch and operate a Low-Earth Orbiting communications satellite in Ku-band.
Craig Clark said “We would like to congratulate our friends at Kepler Communications for making history this week, and to everyone who has contributed to the success of the mission. We are indeed entering into a new era of space-based communications.”
The Kepler network, supported by the Clyde Space nanosatellite technology, will open new business opportunities for applications such as bulk data transfer and IoT (Internet of Things). Data gathered by the constellation will have a range of applications from intelligent shipping to smart agriculture to improve health and safety.
Kepler CEO, Mina Mitry added, “We are really excited that we can claim the first Ku LEO satellite, a key milestone in achieving our long-term vision. Clyde Space has proven to be a great partner and has demonstrated their ability to meet challenging system requirements within our required timelines.”
Designed, built and delivered for launch in just 12 months, this high performance small satellite is a milestone for the companies, making history with its unique payload and high-performance spacecraft technologies. The mission is supported by on-board and mission control software from fellow Scottish company, Bright Ascension.
The developments by Clyde Space in spacecraft technology and volume production are making the prospect of missions requiring constellations of small satellites and CubeSats a reality. The Clyde built satellites, which measure 30cmx10cmx10cm, are supporting an increasing range of new and technically challenging space applications. KIPP is the first of a number of 3U and 6U Clyde Space CubeSats scheduled for launch in 2018.
This news follows the company’s latest joint announcement, that it will be forming a new entity with AAC Microtec, forming the world’s leading small satellite producer. The combined company will offer high-reliability technology and products in a segment ranging from 1U CubeSats to 500 kg satellites, serving a greater market consisting of quality- and reliability-conscious customers, including commercial players with well-funded satellite constellation programs, as well as commercial and institutional customers demanding reliable, flexible and cost-efficient products for advanced small satellite missions.