Mission Objectives

  • Technology demonstration of AIS/VDE message reception using the primary payload
  • Technology demonstration of a medium resolution imager payload
  • Human capacity development (HCD)
  • Flight heritage for F’SATI/CPUT hardware and also hardware from technology partner ESL

Current Status

updated 2019-07-29
    • Launched on 27 December 2018 02:07:00 UTC from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.


The satellite makes use of the CubeSat form factor and contains a mix of in-house developed and commercial-of-the-self components. Components are sourced from Clyde Space and Innovative Solutions In Space. ZACube-2 is South Africa’s most advanced CubeSat yet.

The UHF/VHF transceiver together with the S-band transmitter used on ZACube-2 was developed and built in-house at F’SATI/CPUT.


  • VHF AIS/VDE receiver
  • Medium resolution CMOS imager


  • Satellite name: ZACube-2
  • Satellite Catalog ID: 43907
  • International Designator: 2018-111AH
  • Transceiver modulation and data rates: UHF AX.25 9600 bps GMSK
  • Satellite transceiver manufacturer: CPUT/F’SATI
  • Satellite antenna polarization: Linear
  • Payload Transmitter modulation and data rates: S-band 2 Mbps QPSK
  • Payload Transmitter manufacturer: CPUT/F’SATI

ZACube-2 in the media

Eye in the sky to monitor SA’s oceans – BDLive


ZACube-2 was successfully launched on 27 December 2018 at 02:07:00 UTC from the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket, carrying nanosatellites from SA, the US, Spain and Germany from Baikonur East in Serbia.

ZACube-2 preliminary payload data

Below is an image showing the positions of ocean vessels from which ZACube-2 received AIS messages during a short switch-on test on 1 January 2019.

Ocean vessel position from AIS messages received by ZACube-2

Below is the first image taken with ZACube-2’s K-line imager. It shows the area around and to the north of the Voëlvlei dam in the Western Cape.

First image from ZACube-2’s K-line imager