ZACubed - 1 is the first (known) South African CubeSat Project, and was constructed to adhere to the original CubeSat design criteria.

Primary goals of this project was to build a CubeSat that closely followed the design specifications and to get to grips with the fundamental requirements of designing, building and testing a satellite system, which then also by definition includes support infrastructure - essentially we were engaging ourselves with an entire space program..

Thinking back, Initial attempts to obtain research information on the CubeSat project was quite frustrating.

What we had, was a set of requirements regarding the structure of the satellite and its integrity and a hypothesis that our CubeSat design would be expected to withstand high temperature variations (+80 and -40 C), vibrations, shocks, radiation, and also the "vacuum in space".

Although our first CubeSat Project is based on the KISS principle (Keep it Simple..), it is a fully functional, viable CubeSat Project that is Launch Ready.  



  • Design and build a cost-effective CubeSat based on original design specification
  • Evaluate actual resource requirements
  • Evaluate different COTS subsytems for inclusion in the final Project
  • Develop and/or implement basic software libraries
  • Demonstrate system functionality
  • Conduct subsystems tests and analyse data

Weight:    <1kg (800g)
Size:         10cm*10cm*10cm

  • Processor :  PIC16F877, 64kbytes EEPROM
  • 433MHz Tx/Rx for uplink/downlink Communication
  • Li-ion Batteries and battery conditioning circuitry
  • Solar cell with charging and protection circuitry


  • The Electronic Sub-System
    The CubeSat is controlled from a central on board computer and is based on the PIC16F877 micro controller
    The 16-bit CPU is controlled by boot loader code loaded from a 64Kbyte EEPROM. The bootloader code then loads flightsoftware that controls telecommunication, power management, charging circuitry, protection circuitry, watchdog timers, and the Attitude Determination and Control functions. Communication between the subsystems are takes place accross a standard I2C bus.

  • Communication
    Communication between the CubeSat and the Ground Control is done accross a 433Mhz Tranceiver module.