Fueled by mass market demand, terrestrial consumer electronics continue to drive technology advancement in the field of microelectronics devices. Many of these technologies are spearheaded by the contributions of small and medium enterprises (SME).


There is a clear opportunity to revolutionise space technologies by leveraging advancement in the commercial electronics market. However, despite the benefits to the space industry, it remains difficult for SMEs to get involved due to the significant cost, effort, time, and paper work to qualify parts for space applications.

The primary purpose of this spacecraft is as a technology demonstrator. Each SME in the consortium will be responsible for contributing a particular spacecraft subsystem. These systems/subsystems will be integrated into a nanosatellite forming SME-SAT and allow Small to Medium Enterprises to space qualify and characterise their technologies in the environment of space.

The SME-SAT will be implemented using a 3U commercially available off the shelf (COTS) structure. This standard consists of a structure that has an external envelope of 100mm x 100mm x 340.5mm, internal envelope of 98.4mm x 98.4mm x 295.2mm (L x W x H). On the outside of this structure will be mounted a number of solar arrays that will provide power to the bespoke power system. Inside the structure are a number of PC-104 standard boards that provide the functionality discussed in the following subsections.

The sensor payloads are all connected to a common PC-104 board that interfaces to the rest of the satellite bus. Many of the sensor payloads are internal to the satellite, however the accelerometers and gyros are placed on a deployable boom that will move them approximately 300mm away from the spacecraft.


    The primary objective of this project is to involve SMEs from the terrestrial sector on a space project and allow them to space qualify their technology. SME-SAT brings together one of the largest SME based consortiums ever to develop advanced space technologies based on terrestrial applications, which enables them to fully space qualify their technologies within three years of the project start date.

    This project represents a unique, unprecedented space mission, fostering a new alliance between SME’s, universities and a large scale space prime/integrator in which high risk technologies will be developed and fully tested in space using cubesats.

    The particular payloads that will be demonstrated in this project include:

    • High precision ADCS (Surrey)
    • Nano-Control Moment Gyros for agility (Surrey)
    • Gyros (Sensonor)
    • Accelerometers (Sensonor/Theon)
    • Star sensor (ISIS)
    • Failure Detection, Isolation and Recovery (HSS)
    • Power system (SystematIC design, NL)
    • Structures (MPB)
    • Magnetometer (LEMI)
    • GPS (SSBV).