The 1-year-old U.K. Space Agency has chosen the four experimental payloads that will fly on its first cubesat mission planned for launch in early 2012, the agency announced March 17.

The 4.5-kilogram UKube-1 spacecraft will carry a GPS instrument designed to measure plasmaspheric space weather; a camera designed to image the Earth and monitor the effects of radiation on space hardware; an experiment to demonstrate the use of cosmic radiation to generate random numbers needed for secure communications links; and a payload designed for student and the public interaction, a press release said.

The program is being managed by EADS Astrium, which also will contribute the Janus cosmic radiation experiment. The satellite will be controlled by a main ground station at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and supporting ground stations at the University of Dundee and University of Strathclyde.

U.K. Space Agency spokeswoman Julia Short was unable by press time to provide information on the launch vehicle and the total mission cost.



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