11 PocketQube Payload/Mission Ideas

PocketQubes are quickly opening up a new area for the utalization and commercialization of space. Here at just a few ideas on how you can use the PocketQube platform:


Most people question whether optical payloads make sense on a satellite as small as a PocketQube. We have researched it and it appears sub 10m GSD is possible within a 3p platform such as Unicorn-2. This is comparable to Sentinel Optics and much better than Landsat. We believe there are going to be a lot of optical PocketQubes in the future.

optics pq.png

ADS-B (Plane Tracking)

There are now commercially available PocketQube ADS-B payloads from Skyfox Labs. Our own Unicorn-1 was to take an ADS-B payload, including a high gain stubbed helix antenna. Paul the creator of WREN is also working on an ADS-B satellite, it seems it wont be too long before there are PocketQube ADS-B sats flying.

Picture from Skyfox Labs

Picture from Skyfox Labs

AIS (Ship Tracking)

AIS is more tricky than ADS-B because the wavelength is much longer at 162 Mhz (vs 1090Mhz for ADSB). This requires a bigger antenna which is difficult within a PocketQube form factor, however it’s not impossible and we believe there are ways to do it.

Science Payload

Science is the drive of big missions. Great things have been achieved. There have be a few PocketQube science missions proposed and flown. TLogoQube had a CZT array to measure X-ray’s in space, something which would be tricky to do on the ground. Large constellations of science PocketQubes could open up new avenues for scientists and create datasets of Earth which are currently not available.

UoMBSat-1, Science PocketQube

UoMBSat-1, Science PocketQube


In Orbit Demonstration or In Orbit Validation, flying new tech or designs in space for the first time is by far the most popular mission type we see in the near term for PocketQubes. Semiconductors, propulsion, solar cells tech etc are all ongoing mission proposals and we see many more ideas everyday.

Unicorn-1 IOD/IOV platform, credit Alba Orbital

Unicorn-1 IOD/IOV platform, credit Alba Orbital


The Internet of Things is a big growth area of the small satellite industry. 10’s of lions of devices are coming online and need to be connected somehow. While bigger satellites like 12U cubesat can get large throughput, a swarm of PocketQubes can offer better updates by reducing latency more time-critical applications.


The recent success of Bitcoin and Etherium has led to many Alt Coins coming to market. Many of these are looking to space as a way to reach the 7.5 billion people on Earth. For a currency to be successful it need to be universally accessible and it is tricky for governments to block.

Unicorn-2, Alba Orbital

Unicorn-2, Alba Orbital


It’s not just the optical part of the spectrum which can be utilised from space. With a 3p such as Unicorn-2, Hyperspectral PocketQube missions are starting to become viable. The main issue with these missions are the high data rates required to get all the payload data off the spacecraft. It will be sometime before this is available.

Spectrum Monitoring

Monitoring the earth’s RF spectrum usage using PocketQubes isnt just an idea, the SMOG-1 have already built. Fitting in only a 1p, the tiny spectrum analyzer can measure from around 500 Mhz to 1 Ghz, helping find underused spectrum. This is a hot area of PocketQube research.

SMOG-1, Credit BME

SMOG-1, Credit BME


Now this idea is definitely hard. Using a PocketQube for GNSS-R is very difficult, but may be possible. Deploying a high gain array may close the link of the GNSS signals reflected of the Earth, if done in a 3p. This has potential use cases for Weather, more readings aiding models and forecasts.


If you have any more ideas, for missions and you would like to discuss their viability on a PocketQube, drop us an email contact@pocketqubeshop.com