Alex Salmond inspects first Scots space satellite

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SCOTLAND’S first satellite, the UKube-1, was inspected today by First Minister Alex Salmond.

• UKube-1 nanosatellite to be launched in Kazakhstan later in year

First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Robert Perry

First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Robert Perry

• First Minister meets Glasgow-based team behind satellite, first of its kind from Scotland

Final tests are being undertaken on the UKube-1 nanosatellite which will be launched in Kazakhstan later this year from a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket.

It is the first spacecraft to be designed and built in Scotland, but if successful, the firm behind it says it could be the first of many more Scottish satellites.

The First Minister took a close-up view of the device at Glasgow-based Clyde Space and met the team behind the mission, which announced plans to open a base in the United States.

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

“After years of hard work Craig and his stellar team have shown they have the right stuff to achieve a space mission and they’re ready to make it so. I’m delighted that the mission not only supports several research projects but will engage young people online and can help inspire the next generation of space scientists and engineers.”

The UKube-1 is a UK Space Agency mission that will include experiments to use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to measure space weather and to test how cosmic radiation could improve the security of communications satellites. The satellite will also carry a payload made up of five experiments that students across the UK and the public can interact with and an outreach programme for school pupils.