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Satellite set for launch into space

Scotland's first space satellite is set to be launched into orbit today.

UKube-1, designed and manufactured by Clyde Space in Glasgow, has been transported to Kazakhstan where it will travel into space aboard a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket.

The nanosatellite is about the size of a shoe box and is described by Clyde Space as being one of the most advanced of its kind.

It features GPS devices aimed at measuring plasmaspheric space weather, as well as a camera that will take images of the Earth and test the effects of radiation on space hardware.

It is part of the national collaborative CubeSat programme and will also carry a payload of five experiments that UK students and the public can interact with.

Clyde Space chief executive Craig Clark said it is a very proud moment for the team.

"UKube-1 has been years in the making, with a great deal of hard work from our fantastic Clyde Space team, from securing the funding through to bolting the spacecraft to the launch vehicle last week," Mr Clark said.

"As anyone in the business will tell you, there's nothing easy about designing a spacecraft, especially one as complex as UKube-1, so the achievement is a testament to the capability and application of the team here.

"It has also been a dream for me, to be responsible for producing Scotland's first satellite.

"I'm very proud of UKube-1. But we're not stopping there. This is the first of many, and by that I mean hundreds of satellites of this size to be produced in Glasgow in the coming years."

UKube-1 will be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kaza khstan, which is around the size of Belgium and has multiple launch sites. It was the launch site of Yuri Gagarin's historic space flight in 1961.

Andrew Strain, vice-president of engineering at Clyde Space, has recently returned from Baikonur where he supervised the integration of UKube-1 on to the rocket.

He said: "UKube-1 shipped out six months ago so our first task was to make sure everything was still healthy.

"The beauty of the CubeSat is that at the launch site we were able to set up the test kit and do all the checkouts within a few hours, confirming we were good to go. Once that was done all that remained was to bolt the satellite to the launcher and wait for the launch."

The rocket is set to be launched at 5pm UK time.

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