A monitoring station at Bletchley Park has started receiving messages from a tiny spacecraft which was successfully launched in Russia this week.
FUNcube-1 was successfully launched in Russia early on the morning of November 21 and began transmitting data to monitoring stations around the world, including one at Bletchley Park.
FUNcube-1 is a small “CubeSat” which weighs less than 1kg and measures only 10x10x10cms. The first signals, picked up by volunteer radio enthusiasts at monitoring stations at locations including South Africa and Hawaii, gave the team watching its progress at the National Radio Centre on Bletchley Park detailed information about its position, temperature and the performance of the battery.
Its primary mission is educational outreach to schools and colleges. This outreach is intended to encourage a greater interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects which will be so important for our future prosperity.
Graham Shirville, leading the project, said “We hope it will enthuse children and teenagers for many years to come as it continues to send data from space about atmospheric conditions, temperature and more.”
You can hear what happened at Bletchley Park as the CubeSat was launched in the December edition of the Bletchley Park Podcast.