Logo QB50The objective of the European project QB50 is to design and to deploy in space a network of miniaturized satellites to study the lower layers of the thermosphere, located between 200km and 400 km altitude. Funded by the European Union*, the project implements an international Consortium led by the von Karman Institute (VKI). The first of the two rockets that will take the QB50 constellation in space will lift off at the end of March from Cape Canaveral in Florida.


22 June 2017

The deployment of the QB50 constellation will be completed on 23rd June with a launch from India; The 8 left CubeSats will be deployed by the upper stage of a PSLV-XL rocket.

If you are interested in additional information on the launcher, have a look at this brochure:
The CubeSats will be the last to be deployed at around T+23min.

The launch is scheduled on June 23rd 5.59am (Brussels time).

18 May 2017

The network of QB50 mini-satellites or CubeSats is joining space from Monday 15 May until 26 May 2017. It is leaving the ISS to join the thermosphere. The deployment is a culmination of work of more than 50 universities and research institutes, 23 countries, and 5 continents. The project, coordinated by an international consortium, receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development*. The QB50 mission is a world premiere, the first study of the thermosphere, a largely unexplored zone.

This Thursday 18 May, Jan Schonk, in the name of the State Secretary for Science Policy, Ms. Zuhal Demir and Ms. Florence Beroud, project officer of the Research Executive Agency (EC) were at VKI to witness the deployment of the first nano satellites of the QB50 network. “The space policy of the Belgian authorities has put our research institutes in the ideal position to be selected to coordinate important European projects. By its international character, the von Karman Institute is well placed to manage European projects such as QB50. The role of coordinator is a recognition of the expertise of VKI and of the unique role the Institute plays in the education of engineers and in the execution of innovative scientific research projects.” underlined Zuhal Demir

Florence Béroud
Florence Béroud from the Research Executive Agency
QB50 presentation speakers
From left to right: Amandine Denis, VKI; Davide Masutti, VKI; Jan Schonk, Office of Zuhal Demir; Gaele Winters, VKI and Florence Béroud, REA
Presentation of the QB50 network and the deployment of the CubeSats

24 April 2017

Some important facts about QB50

22 April 2017

Cygnus Bolted to Station for Three Month Stay

18 April 2017

Press release: Successful launch of a world premiere bringing together 23 countries: QB50 on its way to the ISS (also available in French and Dutch)

18 April 2017

Orbital ATK CRS-7 Atlas V Rolls to Launch Pad
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus module rolls to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Pad 41 in this time-lapse video. The rollout is in preparation for the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

18 April 2017

The QB50 Constellation (7th Orbital ATK resupply mission to the ISS) is on its way to reach the ISS after the successful liftoff of 18 April 2017

17 April 2017

During a press briefing April 17, NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance previewed the cargo being transported to the International Space Station on the seventh Orbital ATK resupply mission to the ISS. Launch is being targeted for 11:11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 18, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida (5.11 p.m. Brussels). See the video Atlas/OA-7 pre-launch news briefing and what’s aboard? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQXl0vreQkA (The QB50 project from 52:06 to 59:40 on the video)

March 20, 2017

The launch of Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station will take place no earlier than Monday, March 27.

The additional time allows the ULA team to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue discovered on ground support equipment needed for launch. Orbital ATK has contracted with ULA for its Atlas V rocket for the launch service, which will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Atlas V and Cygnus remain secure and continue to undergo processing for launch.

March 9, 2017

Atlas 5 rocket assembled to launch the S.S. John Glenn
The pre-flight assembly process saw the first stage erected, followed by the integrated interstage, Centaur upper stage and boattail.

Rocket Atlas 5Rocket Atlas 5Rocket Atlas 5

Packing and placement of the QB50 cubesats in the pressurize cargo module for Cygnus at Kennedy Space Center's Space Station processing facilities

Credit: United Launch Alliance


The QB50 cubesats placed in the pressurized cargo module of ATK's OA-7 CygnusPressurized cargo module of ATK's OA-7 Cygnus

Credit: NASA-KSC


25 July 2016

The University of Alberta is set to launch Alberta's first satellite into space in 2016. AlbertaSat, a student-led initiative, is part of the QB50 consortium mission and the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge. Along with 49 other cube satellites in the QB50 mission, Alberta Sat's Ex-Alta 1 will measure patterns of space weather on a completely new scale of science. Ex-Alta 1 and the AlbertaSat project represents an opportunity for the University of Alberta to demonstrate a capability for space technology and betterment of humankind on a global stage.

 *This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development under grant agreement no [284427].
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