STRATHcube Satellite

Spacecraft STRATHcube
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 2U
Status not launched, expected in 2025
Launcher not launched
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Nation UK

Aims to be first student-led Scottish CubeSat and demonstrate space-based passive bistatic radar (PBR) for space debris detection.


Aims to launch the first Scottish student-led CubeSat into space. This mission will encourage increased responsibility and sustainability in the space environment.

STRATHcube is developing two payloads to target the current limitations in Space Situational Awareness:

  1. An antenna to demonstrate in-orbit space debris detection .
  2. A novel sensor package that will analyse the CubeSat fragmentation during re-entry to ensure Design for Demise.

A method to detect debris could be to use space-based passive bistatic radar (PBR). The STRATHcube project proposes to launch a CubeSat into LEO as a PBR technology demonstrator where a signal processing algorithm developed at the University of Strathclyde to detect space debris will be tested. The concept involves a radar receiver and antenna on-board a CubeSat orbiting at a low altitude to detect the radio signals transmitted by operational satellites orbiting at higher altitudes

STRATHcube’s mission is split into roughly three phases.

  1. The first phase - Launch and Early Operations (LEOPS) - is where the spacecraft is deployed and a communications link with Earth is attempted to be established.
  2. The next phase is the nominal operation of the CubeSat, where the focus is to operate our primary payload and detect as much debris as possible!
  3. After the primary payload’s work is done, the mission concludes with the re-entry phase, where our secondary experiment occurs. As we need to transmit and record data when the spacecraft is effectively in a big ball of fire, we used some clever reconfiguration of the solar panels – as has been done by other CubeSat missions – to make STRATHcube’s motion stable.
Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Photo sources [1]
Keywords SSA-Space Situational Awareness

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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