iCUBE-Q Satellite

Name iCUBE-Q (SJTU Siyuan 2, IST CubeSat Qamar, ICUBE-Qamar)
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 8U (2Ux2Ux2U)
Mass in kg 7 kg
Status Operational
Launched 2024-05-03
Deployer ?
Launcher Long March 5 (Chang'e 6)
Deployment Deployed from Chang'e-6 on 2024-05-08
Entity name Islamabad Institute of Science and Technology
Institution Institute
Entity type Government (Civil / Military)
Nation Pakistan
Partners SUPARCO, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Detect traces of water-ice on the lunar surface.


Detect traces of water-ice on the lunar surface.

Four international experiments will fly on its historic Chang'e 6 sample-return mission to the far side of the moon in 2025.

In 2022, the China National Space Agency (CNSA), through the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), offered member states a unique opportunity: to send a student-built payload to the Moon onboard the Chang'e 6 mission.

Pakistan's Institute of Space Technology (IST) answered the call with a proposal for a Lunar CubeSat named "ICUBE-Qamar" (ICUBE-Q for short). After a rigorous evaluation process, IST's proposal was selected. The design and development of ICUBE-Q are a collaborative effort between IST faculty and students, Pakistan's national space agency SUPARCO, and China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). IST has a proven track record in CubeSat development, having successfully launched its first CubeSat, ICUBE-1, in 2013.

Mission Overview & Objectives
The project overall consists of three main parts: the CubeSat itself, the separation mechanism (including the power control box), and the mounting bracket. ICUBE-Q weighs approximately 7 kg and carries two optical cameras to image the lunar surface. It also features essential systems for attitude control, thermal management, and deep-space communication. The main mission objectives are as follows:

Technical Details & Subsystems

Following successful qualification testing at SUPARCO and SJTU, ICUBE-Q has now been integrated with the Chang'e6 orbiter.

ICUBE-Q was successfully launched on 3rd May 2024 and successfully deployed in Lunar orbit on 8th May 2024.

Collaboration between Pakistan’s national space agency, SUPARCO, and China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

At 16:14:36 ​​on May 8, the "SJTU Siyuan 2 (ICUBE-Q)" lunar exploration  satellite developed by the Intelligent Satellite Technology Center of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics of Shanghai Jiao Tong University was successfully released and separated from Chang'e 6, entered the predetermined orbit, powered on, and successfully obtained the first image photo. This marks the official start of the scientific exploration mission of this first satellite under 10 kilograms in China. It will continue to capture lunar image data and carry out a series of experiments.

SJTU Siyuan II" is the first lunar orbit satellite developed by Shanghai Jiaotong University after the first student satellite "SJTU Siyuan I", and it is also the first deep space exploration nanosatellite of domestic universities. The reporter learned from Shanghai Jiaotong University that "SJTU Siyuan II" weighs only 6.5 kg and has a total carrying weight of 9 kg, achieving breakthroughs in weight and volume; at the same time, it successfully carries the self-developed X-band measurement, control, and data transmission integrated communication machine, introduces dynamic intelligent task scheduling strategies, and has an on-orbit fault diagnosis algorithm that enables the satellite to automatically detect and diagnose possible system faults

“SJTU Siyuan 2" not only carries scientific research tasks, but is also one of the four international payloads of Chang'e 6. It is the result of joint research and development by Shanghai Jiaotong University and Pakistan Institute of Space Technology. This cooperative project not only deepens the cooperation between China and Pakistan in the field of aerospace, but also provides valuable examples of aerospace application and technology promotion for "Belt and Road" partners.


The "SJTU Siyuan-2" CubeSat was successfully launched into orbit on Chang'e-6, and was successfully released and separated today after 5 days of on-orbit storage. Just 14 seconds after its "solo flight", it successfully established a satellite-to-ground link, and the Kashgar ground station successfully received satellite telemetry data; one minute later, the satellite sails were successfully deployed, the flywheel was controlled, and it entered the rate damping mode; at 16:21:26, the satellite completed the satellite rate damping and switched to the solar orientation mode; at 16:23:18, the Kashgar ground station successfully received the first separated imaging image data; in the evening, the lunar landform remote sensing data was successfully obtained.

The reporter learned from the satellite team of Shanghai Jiaotong University that the Siyuan-2 currently flying normally, the voltage of the whole satellite is normal, the attitude is stable, all functions are working stably and normally, and the separated imaging data has been successfully obtained, and the mission has been a complete success. In the future, according to the scheduled plan, it will continue to use its micro-camera to obtain detailed images of the lunar surface, carry out intelligent processing of image data on orbit, and verify new technologies such as nanosatellite-level deep space lunar-earth communication, and fully explore low-cost deep space exploration models based on micro-nano satellites.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4]
Keywords Beyond Earth orbit
Space photos iCUBE-QiCUBE-QiCUBE-Q


Last modified: 2024-05-30

Feel free to connect at any time.

Created by Erik Kulu


Social Platforms

LinkedIn: Nanosats
Twitter: @nanosatellites

Sister Websites

NewSpace Index:
Factories in Space:

Copyright © 2014 - 2024 Erik Kulu