Alba Orbital Ltd (PocketQube Shop) based in Glasgow, Scotland, wants to get more people building and launching their own satellites. The company provides a hub for PocketQube satellites by offering a onestopshop with the largest selection of parts available anywhere.
It aims to provide for small budget organizations and amateurs who wish to be part of the “DIY space race”. The satellite costs about the same price as a car with a starting price of £20,000. These minuscule satellites can carry programmes such as tracking of birds or measuring Earth’s magnetic field.
To launch the satellites, these can be hitched onto another rocket where there is space for an extra satellite. Alba Orbital Ltd serves as a point of contact between PocketQube builders and aerospace companies. So far, 4 PocketQube satellites have been launched in 2013, from Russia on a Dnepr1 rocket. One of them is Wren. Operated by a German startup named STAKIDO, this miniaturized satellite weighting 0.25 kg is equipped with a camera system to photograph the Earth, the Sun and deep space objects. The next launch is scheduled for the second semester of 2016 with the rocket UniSat7. It is operated by G.A.U.S.S. who is currently looking for other CubeSats to include in the satellite.
Funding was accessed first through the crowd funding website Kickstarter on which it exceeded its $5,000 target in a few hours. In October 2014, it won the SMART award by Scottish Enterprise with a £84,000 funding which contributed towards developing a first commercially available Electrical Power System (EPS) for PocketQube class Satellites. The startup is expanding the product line to cover the full range of offtheshelf parts necessary to build nanosats.
CNN named the company in its ‘Going Global in 2015: 10 startups to watch’ list. It was also named in the ’20 innovations for 2015’ list by the Guardian.