Project Q-Cube

The Q-Cube (a Quarter sized CubeSat) is primarily intended as a route to viable education satellite projects for secondary school pupils and undergraduate students. However given a Q-Cube project could be completed for around ÂŁ10,000 including launch it also may have secondary applications for industry and academia as a technical flight demonstration platform for new nanosatellite products and components.


The background to the Q-Cube concept is two attempts to make small satellites as an undergraduate final year project at the University of Bristol, and the British Interplanetary Society “sprite” satellite programme. The conclusions reached from this experience are that for upper school and undergraduate projects to produce flightworthy satellites that can perform a real function, the satellite should be in the nanosat class (0.1 to 1 kg), be very simple in its basic concept and have a proven platform with any difficult interface issues mostly resolved. These have been the guiding principles in developing the Q-Cube concept in a preliminary study that explored taking the basic Cubesat format but reducing the size and complexity to the minimum, while still producing a design that can be built from standard electrical components and without special facilities or skills.

Project Summary

Name: Project Q Cube

Dates: May 2016 to Dec 2017

Summary: To make a prototype satellite intended for school and undergraduate projects

Project deliverables: A prototype Q-Cube Satellite (hopefully flown) and an instruction/guidebook for use by educational project teams

Long-term goal: To encourage the use of practical and flown satellites as an option for STEM education.

Technology timeframe: Near-term (Present – 2020)

BIS involvement: The BIS Q-Cube will be a complete project. Hopefully other trial projects will run in parallel leading to a combined launch.

Current BIS activity: KickSat Project starts the BIS capability in flown satellites, Q-Cube would extend this.

Progress so far: The Q-Cube satellite is in development with Hempsell Astronautics and is close to Engineering Model construction and that company will donate a structure, power and computing package as the basis for the project.

BIS leader/contact: Mark Hempsell

Further information: Email [email protected]

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