Oct 05 2014

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Alba Orbital wins SMART award for PocketQube development

Over $100K for Electrical Power System development from Scottish Enterprises.

Alba Orbital Ltd (PocketQube Shop) a Space Startup based in Glasgow, Scotland, has announced it has won a SMART Award from Scottish Enterprise. The Award represents funding of over $100k (£63k) to develop the first commercially available Electrical Power System (EPS) for PocketQube class Satellites.

PocketQube’s are a new class of satellite which are a low-cost entry point for small budget organisations such as Universities, Amateurs, Space Agencies and High Schools. The first 4 PocketQubes were launched into orbit last year, with many more in development around the world.

The EPS will join a growing list of Commercial Off the Shelf or COTS parts available for the PocketQube form factor and help widen participation and access to space. PocketQube Shop’s current product range includes structures, Transceivers, mechanical and electrical ground support equipment.

The 5x5x5cm, 0.15kg PocketQube standard has evolved to become the basis for one of the most widely accepted families of picosatellite designs and was originally proposed by Professor Bob Twiggs at Morehead University.

Per Alba Orbital founder Tom Walkinshaw, they figure a 12-month development cycle to get an operational EPS.

I actually think Alba Orbital is ahead of the curve here.  We’ve seen the CubeSat concept take off as miniaturization improves and technology advances.  I think we’re in the pre-take-off phase of PocketQube, but it won’t be long before PocketQubes do what CubeSats do today.


Scottish Enterprise is a government(?) agency dedicated to the innovation and expansion of Scottish products and services.

SMART: SCOTLAND offers funding for research and development projects. From digital media and construction to life and chemical sciences, we support high-risk projects with global ambitions.

SMART: SCOTLAND offers funding for feasibility studies and research and development. We’ve so far provided £25.4 million to projects that have gone on to generate a further £54 million. 

Being Scottish myself, I’m a big fan of Scotland, though I am glad they voted to stay in the UK.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/05/alba-orbital-wins-smart-award-for-pocketqube-development/

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