Catapult CubeSat Development Facility
22 Mar 2018





​Catapult ‘Nano-Bed' CubeSat Mission Development Facility​

(credit Clyde Space)

The Catapult has a CubeSat mission development facility comprising a suite of avionics cards (power board, OBC, communications card) from a typical CubeSat, laid out on a flat surface (collectively known as a ‘FlatSat’), together with the necessary support equipment (external power supply, RF communications equipment, oscilloscope and external control computer), which, together with the FlatSat and its on-board software are collectively known as a ‘Nano-bed’. This facility allows CubeSat users, including payload or instrument providers, subsystem suppliers, detector suppliers, and on-board software providers, to plug in their device(s) and or software, to a set of avionics that behaves electrically in exactly the same way as an actual CubeSat does, so that they can test its interfaces and performance in a realistic CubeSat environment.

By verifying its performance in this way, they can eliminate almost all potential interface issues, so that when they encounter the flight CubeSat, they can be confident that their device(s) can be integrated with a minimum of difficulty.

The Catapult has five designated Centres-of-Excellence, two of which also support CubeSat activities: Strathclyde University and the UK ATC. Both of these Centres have ‘Mission Labs’ with Nano-Bed development facilities, allowing northern CubeSat users the same benefits.

Catapult ‘Nano-Bed' CubeSat Mission Development Facility (credit Clyde Space