The Satellite Applications Catapult, an independent innovation and technology company, recently hosted the 2014 UK CubeSat Forum Workshop, bringing together 150 representatives from over 100 organisations from the UK and international CubeSat community.
The workshop provided an opportunity to communicate the latest achievements in UK CubeSat activities, with several brainstorming sessions capturing the current needs and requirements of the wider community. It is anticipated that output from these sessions will strongly influence future white papers produced by the UK CubeSat Forum, which will subsequently provide guidance and direction for future initiatives to support UK CubeSat missions.
The CubeSat Forum workshop was preceded by the inauguration of the Catapult Missions Laboratory in Harwell, following delivery of its first components – a FlatSat based on the UKube-1 Platform. The Catapult Missions Lab is a new national facility that will provide flight-like hardware for satellite technology providers and an integrated collaborative network of assets designed to develop the small satellite supply chain in UK.
Inauguration of the Harwell laboratory was the second step in a planned deployment of a national network of Missions Lab facilities, following the recent inauguration of the University of Strathclyde Missions Lab.
The Harwell Missions Lab provides an electrostatic discharge safe working environment to design, develop and test new technology concepts using a suite of flight-like tools and equipment. The initial deployment of the CubeSat FlatSat will provide a capability that will be supported by future developments to extend this infrastructure to more generic micro-satellite platform systems. Through the use of current and planned future emulation and simulation tools, the Missions Lab will enable full-mission simulation of novel new platform and payload technologies. Furthermore, integration with the Catapult Operations Centre co-located on the Harwell campus creates a new and unique environment for service and terrestrial satellite applications demonstration.
Satellite Applications Catapult CEO, Stuart Martin, said: “The CubeSat market is growing quickly, and UK is playing a leading role. The UK CubeSat Forum represents an important new mechanism for raising awareness of CubeSats’ value to multiple audiences, and enabling the bringing to market of innovative commercial solutions. Through our participation, we will share knowledge across our own networks, and help shape Government and business strategies to underpin investment decisions.”
Stuart added: “The CubeSat FlatSat will accelerate development of new mission and payload concepts for future satellites. It will also provide ad-hoc and ongoing support for academic institutions, start-ups and SMEs at the forefront of these new technologies, reducing the cost and risk typically associated with such new developments.”