in Space

Bright Ascension provides software for Kepler nanosat

Posted 23 January 2018 · Add Comment

Scottish space software company Bright Ascension Ltd have provided the software for a communications satellite which was recently launched by Kepler Communications Inc.

Above: Kepler’s KIPP nanosatellite launched on 19th of January.

The small but capable, spacecraft is a 3U CubeSat, measuring around 10x30cm with mass of around 3.5kg.

Kepler Communications Inc have contracted Scottish spacecraft manufacturer Clyde Space to provide two CubeSats as a pilot for their full satellite constellation. Kepler’s innovative technology will open new business opportunities for applications such as bulk data transfer and IoT (Internet of Things). Data gathered by the constellation will have a range of applications from intelligent shipping to smart agriculture to improve health and safety.

Bright Ascension provided the spacecraft flight software responsible for controlling the satellite and communicating with operators on the ground. This was built using the company’s industry-leading flight software development kit (FSDK) which allows flight software to be rapidly developed and customised to meet specific mission requirements by linking together validated off-the-shelf components.

The flight software was developed in five months culminating in integration and test at Clyde Space’s Glasgow facilities in December of last year before the spacecraft was shipped for launch.

The company has also provided the Mission Control Software (MCS) which will be used by operators at Kepler Communications to communicate with and control their spacecraft from the ground in real-time. The MCS also provides automation features to allow Kepler to control their operating costs and provide a service to customers more effectively.

Craig Clark, CEO of Clyde Space commented “We have been working with Bright Ascension for a number of years, starting the successful UKube-1 mission and have come to regard them as part of our core delivery team.  With the Kepler mission we have proven that it is possible to deliver cutting edge spacecraft technology to orbit on a very aggressive timescale and the team at Bright Ascension were integral to making this possible. I thank them for their continued excellent support to our missions.”

This is Bright Ascension’s second successful mission after the launch of UKube-1, the first satellite to be built in Scotland, in 2014. This year promises to be an exciting year for the company with a further 8 launches planned using the company’s software.


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