Summer launch for Scottish space satellite

First Minister Alex Salmond (right) and Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Dr Lena Wilson inspect the UKube-1 satellite.
First Minister Alex Salmond (right) and Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Dr Lena Wilson inspect the UKube-1 satellite.

Scotland’s first satellite is to be launched into space in June.

The cutting-edge device is the first spacecraft to be designed and built in Scotland. It will be launched on board a Russian rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Clyde Space, the Glasgow company behind the nanosatellite, is hoping it could be the first of many from Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond described the project as being “one small satellite for Clyde and a giant leap for their extra-terrestrial export business and a new hope for space science in Scotland”.

The UKube-1 satellite is said to be one of the most advanced of its kind.

When it is launched it will take part in a UK Space Agency mission that will see it use GPS technology to measure plasma-spheric space weather, as well as testing how cosmic radiation could improve the security of communication satellites.

The satellite will also carry five experiments that students across the UK can become involved in.

Mr Salmond inspected the device when he visited Clyde Space which has just announced plans for a US base with Sergey Krutikov, the consul general of the Russian Federation in Scotland, and Lena Wilson, the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise.

The First Minister said: “By pioneering a cost-effective way of supporting more space research, the Clyde Space team is building on a strong heritage of engineering, ingenuity and innovation.

“I’m delighted that, through Scottish Enterprise, we’ve been able to support this exciting company as it has built the business globally, to a point now where it is planning a new base in the US.

“It is great to see up close Scotland’s first space satellite, representing another successful Scottish export drive but not as we know it.”

Mr Salmond said Clyde Space chief executive officer Craig Clark and his team had “shown they have the right stuff to achieve a space mission and they’re ready to make it so”.

Clyde Space customers include the European Space Agency and Nasa.

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