nSight-1, a nanosatellite designed and built by SCS Space, a subsidiary of the SCS Aerospace Group (South Africa’s largest privately owned group of satellite companies) was launched to the International Space Station on 18 April 2017 and was successfully deployed into 400km low-Earth orbit on the 25 May 2017.
SCS Aerospace Group together with Pinkmatter Solutions and the Department of Trade and Industry, invested in the Sight-1 nanosatellite which forms part of the European Commission’s QB50 project.
The nSight-1 nanosatellite was designed, integrated and tested by a team of engineers from the Space Advisory Company and assembled at NewSpace Systems’ European Space Agency (ESA) certified clean room production facility. Space Advisory Company and NewSpace Systems also fall part of the SCS Aerospace Group, South Africa’s largest privately owned group of satellite companies.
The nSight-1 nanosatellite forms part of the European Commission’s QB50 project whose main objective is to design and deploy a network of satellites to study the largely unexplored lower thermosphere. nSight-1 therefore carries as one of its three payloads the scientific instrumentation for in-site thermosphere analysis. This enforces the international collaboration of SCS Aerospace Group with European partners. The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium is the lead institute for the QB50 project Consortium.
Of specific importance to SCS Aerospace Group is the second nSight-1 payload which serves the mission objective to allow for the testing of its newly developed ‘SCS Gecko Imager’. The Gecko is an ultra-compact imager and provide RGB imaging at high frame rates, large integrated high-speed data storage and a compact form factor that is optimised for integration with 2U or larger CubeSat frames. It is commercially available, including online at www.CubeSatShop.com.
The SCS Gecko multispectral imager took its first photos with the help of the South African Amateur Radio Community who enhanced the download capacity using their distributed home based receivers.
The third payload on the satellite was provided by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s patented Radiation Mitigation VHDL Coding Technique. The integration of this payload on the nSight-1 satellite demonstrates the partnership between SCS Aerospace Group and the university in satellite technology.