The Danish Student CubeSat Program (DISCO), which is a collaboration between Aarhus University, Aalborg University, University of Southern Denmark, the IT University and the European Space Education Resource Office was initiated to increase the number of candidates from Danish universities with competences within space. To do that we want to use CubeSats to increase the interest in STEM and space from Danish high-school students.
The collaboration has received 4.25 MDKK from the Danish Industry Foundation to support the launch of the first three with 800,000 DKK each and to cover the high-school activities. The first satellite in the program, DISCO-1, will be launched in early 2023. This satellite will carry a number of satellite communication experiments.
CubeStats are particularly well-suited for this, as they require collaboration, are interdisciplinary and possess a high degree of x-factor. Until now, the launch of CubeSats from Danish universities has been borne by individuals and limited funds. With DISCO, a national organization is being created for the first time, which will collaborate to create a pipeline of CubeSats-based educational courses at Danish universities.
The DISCO program was launched with a start-up grant from the Danish Industry Foundation of DKK 4.5 million, which covers the launch of the first 3 cubesats in the program. This appropriation covered the very basic costs of securing the launch of 3 satellites, so more ambitious missions require additional funding.
The program will be initiated with the launch of a 1U cubesat, DISCO-1, in 2023. The work with this satellite will be led by Aalborg University and the satellite will contain a digital repeater, which among other high school students will be able to test with specially developed mobile ground stations.
The second satellite in the DISCO program, DISCO-2, is set to launch in 2024. Students from all four universities are involved in all aspects of the mission from idea to design, construction, testing and ultimately operation once the satellite is launched into space.
The series of DISCO satellites is expected to continue after the launch of the second satellite.