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SwissCube EPFL.jpg
Mission typeAtmospheric
COSPAR ID2009-051B
SATCAT no.35932
Mission duration3-12 months planned
84+ months achieved[1]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
Launch mass1 kilogram (2.2 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date23 September 2009, 06:21 (2009-09-23UTC06:21Z) UTC
RocketPSLV-CA C14
Launch siteSatish Dhawan FLP
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Perigee710 kilometres (440 mi)[2]
Apogee722 kilometres (449 mi)[2]
Inclination98.39 degrees[2]
Period98.97 minutes[2]
Epoch24 January 2015, 04:38:10 UTC[2]

SwissCube-1 is a Swiss satellite operated by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The spacecraft is a single unit CubeSat, which was designed to conduct research into nightglow within the Earth's atmosphere, and to develop technology for future spacecraft.[3] It has also been used for amateur radio. It was the first Swiss satellite to be launched.[4]


SwissCube-1 was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, serial number C14, flying in the Core Alone, or PSLV-CA, configuration.[5] The launch took place from the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, at 06:21 UTC on 23 September 2009.[6] SwissCube-1 was a secondary payload aboard the rocket, which deployed the Oceansat-2 satellite. Five other secondary payloads were flown aboard the rocket; BeeSat, UWE-2, ITU-pSat1, Rubin 9.1 and Rubin 9.2.[7][8]

SwissCube-1 is operating in a sun synchronous orbit[9] with an apogee of 752 kilometres (467 mi), a perigee of 726 kilometres (451 mi) and 98.28 degrees of inclination to the equator. It has an orbital period of 98.5 minutes.

Its mission was expected to last between three and twelve months.[7] The mission was extended an additional 18 months in February 2010 and an additional ground command facility was added.[10] It took its first picture on 18 February 2011 and its first airglow picture on 3 March 2011.[11]

On 2 December 2011, EPFL ended the SwissCube project and turned over control of the satellite to amateur radio operators.[12] As of November 2016 SwissCube is still operational after seven years in space.[13]

In anticipation of its future "debris" status in light of the slowly degrading lithium-ion batteries, the Clean Space One project was launched in 2012 to provide a spacecraft able to catch SwissCube-1 and remove it from orbit in the 2020 horizon.[14]

Software Architecture[15][edit]

  • The COM (communication), PL (payload), ADCS (attitude and orientation), and EPS (energy) subsystems all have a MSP430F1611 microcontroller
  • The CDMS (on board computer) has an ATMEL ARM AT91M55800A

These microcontrollers used two I2C buses to communicate : one main bus (all subsystems) and one fallback bus (only EPS and COM). The cubesat had 4 operation modes : recovery (not enough power to work), safe (minimum subsystems running), and two standard modes (all subsystems are working nominally).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SwissCube » Live Tracking". Space Center EPFL - SwissCube. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e "SWISSCUBE Satellite details 2009-051B NORAD 35932". N2YO. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Project Objectives" (PDF). SwissCube. EPFL. May 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Switzerland Launches First Satellite" (PDF). EATOPS. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  5. ^ Wade, Mark. "PSLV CA". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  6. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "SwissCube". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  8. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Rubin 9". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  9. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Centres de contrôles déportés, un exemple de travail collaboratif pour la mission SwissCube" (PDF). EATOPS. 14 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Le satellite Swisscube délivre ses premiers clichés". 2011-03-25. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  12. ^ "SwissCube update". AMSAT-UK. 2011-12-03. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
  13. ^ "SwissCube » Live Tracking » Mission data". Space Center EPFL - SwissCube. 2016-11-19. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  14. ^ "Clean Space One press releases". EPFL Engineering Space Center (eSpace) - Clean Space One. 2015-07-06. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  15. ^

External links[edit]