back to article Brit space agency sends up 1st satellite

So far, the UK space agency hasn't gone in for any of that headline-grabbing stuff like landing people on the Moon or launching Martian probes that get stranded in orbit before plummeting back to Earth – it leaves that sort of stuff to NASA and Roscosmos. cubesat_ukube1 Willy Wonka's elevator Blighty's first-ever satellite …


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    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @Space junk

      That is one of the goals of getting the "right orbit" to piggyback on, one that serves the science requirements but is also low enough that the thing will de-orbit in 25-ish years simply due to atmospheric drag.

    2. Paul 77


      UKube 1 has this spoiler thing which is designed to limit the time it can stay in orbit, so it won't be up there forever, getting in the way.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Er, Blighty's first-ever satellite?

    Surely 'Ariel 1', which was launched in 1962, is the first?

    1. graeme leggett


      And Prospero was launched in 1971 on a British launcher Black Arrow.

      for amateur experimenters, Black Arrow used paraffin and (high test) peroxide making the technology a bit too hairy for shed experiments

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Sounds perfect

        for shed experiments if you ask me!

        1. Grease Monkey

          I thought the first ever really British satellite was Ariel 3 in 1967. Ariel 1 and 2 were built in the US.

          Yes I know Ariel 3 was launched in the US, but it was British built.

      2. Yamal Dodgy Data

        first UK satellite.. It WAS Prospero X3

        @greameleggett has is right

        Launched from Woomera in 1971,

        incidentally, three years after WRESAT (also launched at Woomera)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Misleading title

      UKSA first ever satellite would have been better. I forgotten about Ariel1.

  3. annodomini2


    We have no money and we're a bit useless, but we'll (badly) try and look like we're doing something!

    Oh and tell the Government to stay the hell away from Skylon!

    1. NomNomNom

      On the only way to save face at this point and jump forward as a contender of the space race would be to launch a plasma cannon into orbit

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Only evil worldtakeover bearded people with an aristocratic bend bedding black amazons can do that!

        Btw, has everyone forgotten about The Beagle?

        1. Graham Bartlett

          @Destroy all monsters

          Might be confusing your Bonds there, sir - but Grace Jones does kind of stick in the mind! Unless you mean Thumper from "Diamonds are Forever", of course, but the implication there is that Bambi and Thumper are only bedding each other. And Blofeld is pretty short on head hair.

          Yes, the coat full of unusual Q-branch devices, thanks...

          1. CD001

            He might be referring to Richard Branson and a post-op Usain Bolt?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Destroy All Monsters

          Do you mean Beagle 2?

          It wasn't a satellite - it was a Mars lander. Apparently it landed too heavily...

  4. quarky

    Skylon, why not?

    Given the huge stacks of money wasted on other projects, why not spend it on Skylon? It has a much better chance of a return on investment, and lets face it, Skylon is a damn cool name.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Return on investment

      "It has a much better chance of a return on investment"

      Well, yes, sort of. But as soon as the investor is the government, there will be a negative return on investment. The spec would be changed every month. After a couple of years, the spec and design will look like each part was designed by someone wearing a blind-fold and not knowing what anything else in the project was like.

      Eventually, there would be a series of reviews, and eventually hourly pregress reports at which point it would be dropped and everyone would say the idea was crap, or that the poor sods working on it were incompetent.

      Keep the government out of our space projects.

      1. annodomini2

        You forgot...

        The 200 people in the board room spending 2 months arguing about what colour they should paint the landing gear.

        While the 3 people on the production line sit idle while they wait for an answer.

        Watched over by 50 Health and Safety representatives.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do the plans for Skylon have a scrolling red LED faceplate? Maybe it could respond to all signals from Earth with "By your command"

      1. John 62

        Red sweeping LEDs?

        That'll be KITT, Michael.

    3. Sweaty Hambeast

      Easy way to fund this...

      ...just come up with a way to gather lots of personal information via a web page, come up with a way to make it *cough* cool *cough*, collect 800 million members and then IPO it. Hey presto, lots of money.

      Anyone got an idea... oh, wait...

  5. AndrueC Silver badge

    Um..I realise the article is about the UKSA but perhaps it'd be nice if it mentioned somewhere that there are already many UK built satellites in orbit. We actually have a very strong and competent satellite manufacturing industry. It's only our government that is reluctant to get involved in space - UK private enterprise is heavily involved.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Yes, that's true, but also UKSA may be a new entity, but really is just the renamed BNSC (British National Space Centre) which was a club of all the departments interested in space. (and that had been going since '85 according to Wikipedia)

      And yes, apart from building lots of satellites in the UK, there are also satellites owned and operated by the UK too (gov. or UK companies).

  6. Steve Renouf

    Oooohhhh.... Look!

    It's Doctor Who's T.A.R.D.I.S!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No ...

      It's an IKEA display cabinet.

  7. spodula

    Does look a bit like

    Someone orbited an old Server rack,

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Based on the specs, you'd get a few Rasberry Pi boards racked up in there.

      Mines the with the squidgy pockets dripping red juice.

      Those Raspberry Pies were too cheap.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    How long before the country itself adopts those initials? Got that nice 'American Satellite' [pun intended] ring to it.

  9. peterp

    Getting facts straight

    "Blighty's first satellite", eh? What about Prospero, lauched in 1971 and operational until 1973, then?

    1. NickE

      Re Prospero

      Even Better Prospero is still alive and capable of being contacted shows how good British Sats are

  10. Robert Harrison

    Am I going crazy or does that look like a good ol' red telephone box?

  11. Mark 75

    "We're still in discussions with potential launch providers for UKube-1..."

    I nearly choked when I read the name, I think they left-out an "L" after the "UK" part.

    I guess that next on the drawing-board is UK-KY-1?

  12. Sir Barry

    So thats what happened to the BT phone boxes....

    and a Friday pint

  13. Blunderbuss

    That satellite..

    looks surprisingly like Bill and Ted's time machine phone booth....Excellent!

  14. vulcan

    Only just talking about Skylon, it's 61 years old and was the centrepiece of the 1951 Festival of Britain!

    I'll get my zimmer frame

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UKSA press release

    Don't know what we're for really, but how about we justify our existence by booking space on someone's launch - we'll provide a wardrobe (red phone boxes are SO heavy), then anyone, schools etc, can put their stuff in it, OK?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So they plan on using NovaStar for deforestation? Is this part of the beam solar energy down to Earth plan? Fry large swathes of forest with the glorious "UK Death Beam From Above"?

  17. John 62
    Black Helicopters

    Space Agency Collaboration

    Easy way to get spooks into other countries and get info from other countries' boffins.

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