PocketQube satellites and sub-systems on the global marketplace


This is a market segment roundup initially developed in collaboration with Alba Orbital and focussing on companies that offer products and services in the PocketQube picosatellite form factor.

Electronic and structural miniaturisation of space components and sub-systems has led to a variety of innovations in recent years.

A wide range of parts and components have been manufactured with increasingly smaller physical footprints, and this has reduced the overall size of complete systems.

The costs and lead times of such systems have also decreased, while the range of possible in-orbit applications and technology available has grown. This has been driven by greater use of commercial-of-the-shelf (COTS) components and the commercial availability of a wider range of products, parts and materials with flight heritage.

In addition, the growth in both research and commercial interest in space applications, along with an increase in new entrants and innovation to the market, has led to greater demand for more compatible, interoperable, and modular products.

Over the years this has led to the emergence of standardised physical form factor satellites such as CubeSats and PocketQubes.

alba orbital on satsearch
The Unicorn-1 satellite designed by Alba Orbital – for the European Space Agency’s first PocketQube mission (credit).

PocketQubes are very small satellites that are often used for research purposes. They were first developed based on work at Morehead State University (MSU) and Kentucky Space, USA, in 2009. They were originally called PocketQubs.

A PocketQube is a 5cm cube and typically has a launch mass of no more than 250g.

In small satellite form factor terminology a 5 x 5 x 5 cm3 cube is also known as 1p and PocketQube satellites are products that are usually organised by size according to the number of p they feature – in the same way that U is used for CubeSats.

In this post we take a look at a variety of PocketQube products, systems, and suppliers around the world offering hardware and services for this segment of the market.

PocketQube products on the global marketplace

In the section below you can see a variety of products and services related to PocketQubes that are available on the market.

These listings will be updated when new PocketQube products are added to the global marketplace for space at satsearch.co – so please check back for more or sign up for our mailing list for all the updates.

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PocketQube satellites, sub-systems and services by Alba Orbital Ltd.

alba orbital albapod on satsearch
alba orbital Pocketqube 1P Structure on satsearch

Alba Orbital provides a range of modular PocketQube platforms, ground station solutions, launch services, payloads, consultancy services, and other products.

alba orbital pocketqube launch on satsearch

The Pocketqube 1P Structure is a 50 x 50 x 50 mm3 satellite chassis with a skeletonized wall structure. It weighs 0.069 kg and has an operating temperature range of 223—363 K.

Alba Orbital’s PocketQube Deployer Albapod enables the deployment of one or multiple PocketQubes into orbit. It is suitable for 1p, 1.5p, 2p or 3p PocketQube format satellites and has a 10mm envelope for larger deployables and antennas. It is compatible with MR-FOD style PocketQubes and features tabbed systems designed to reduce contact points from 4 to 2 in order to minimise risk. The Albapod can be integrated onto any launch vehicle and there is also a 96p variant available for PocketQube constellation deployment.

Alba Orbital’s launch service has been developed to offer regular, reliable and cost-effective launch opportunities to companies, universities and other PocketQube teams. Alba Orbital has developed partnerships with a variety of launch companies and brokers and utilises the AlbaPod Deployer (detailed above) as part of the launch service.

At the time of writing Alba Orbital has launched more PocketQube satellites into orbit than any other organisation

PocketQube structures by G.A.U.S.S.

GAUSS PocketQube products on satsearch

G.A.U.S.S. manufactures a range of PocketQube size structure products for various satellite form factors. Alongside the hardware provided G.A.U.S.S. also offers support for design and FEM analysis for both standard and customized structures according to the client’s needs.

Solutions are available for a variety of cases including; deployable systems, interfaces for structural tests and IOD/IOV platforms. The individual PocketQube products are:

The Pocketqube Solar Panel by DHV Technology

Pocketqube Solar Panel on satsearch

The DHV Technology Pocketqube Solar Panel has been developed to bring solar power to picosatellites. It features Spectrolab TASJ solar cells and is available in 1p, 2p and 3p formats as well as customized sizes. It is manufactured from PCB low thickness polyimide substrate and features the following electrical parameters, under the conditions 1 sun, AM 1.5G (1000 W/m2) 25°C:

  • ISC = 31 mA
  • Imp = 28 mA
  • VOC = 15.12 V
  • Vmp = 13.14 V
  • Pmp = 368 mW

PocketQube development services by Fossa Systems

Pocketqube development services by Fossa Systems on satsearch

Fossa Systems provides a range of development services for picosatellite manufacturers and operators for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) applications, with a focus on integrated and high-performance PocketQube platforms. FOSSA Systems acquired flight heritage in 2019 in missions such as FOSSASAT-1 which demonstrated a LoRa IOT telecommunications satellite sized at 5cm and weighing under 250g.

The company offers integrated PocketQube hardware solutions, sub-system level PocketQube components, consulting and launch services and is also developing a range of cutting-edge equipment including ADCS systems, PocketQube propulsion systems and EO payloads for picosatellites.

Thanks for reading! If you would like further help identifying a PocketQube or picosatellite product or service for your needs, please click here to send us a query and we’ll use our extended global networks of suppliers to find the information you need.

Have you noticed that your company isn’t included in this article? Simply send us an email today, and we’d be happy to work with you to showcase your products to the satsearch community!

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