UniCubeSat-GG (Gravity Gradient) is the first CubeSat mission of GAUSS Group (Gruppo di Astrodinamica dell’Universita degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Scuola di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Italy).

                                          UniCubeSat-GG (Gravity Gradient)


  • CubeSat shaped satellite with external dimensions of 10 cm x 10 cm x 13.5 cm, mass of 1kg
  • Structure in aluminium
  • Off the shelf electronic subsystems (COTS)
  • Power: generated by Space qualified Lithium Polymer aluminium batteries and triple junction solar cells 
  • ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem) to investigate the attitude of the deployed boom system
  • OBDH On Board Data Handling and Communications subsystem
  • Attitude control: Spin + two magnetorquers for magnetic control
  • Passive TCS (Thermal Control Subsystem)
  • S/C communications according to radio amateur standards in UHF band (437.305 MHz) using a COTS radio; deployable antenna
  • VEGA Maiden flight CubeSat orbit 


  • Provide hands-on education for students
  • Reduce the satellite mass from of the UNISAT series to 1 kg (CubeSat series)
  • Study of the gravity gradient (through a boom)
  • Attitude measurements and telemetry
  • Perform measurements of atmospheric density and radiation environment 


  • Two deployable booms equipped with solar panels 
  • Experiments: mainly in orbit test of the gravity gradient attitude stabilization system
  • Educational payloads
  • Two magnetometers
  • EPS board (Electric Power Subsystem) by ClydeSpace


UniCubeSat satellite was successfully launched on February 13, 2012 as a secondary payload on the maiden flight of the Vega launch vehicle of ASI and ESA from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. The launch opportunity was offered by ESA Education Office

In the multiple payload launch there were nine small satellites including seven ESA- sponsored CubeSats built by teams of European University students. The primary payload was the Italian scientific satellite LARES (LAser RElativity Satellite, of 400 kg), the other satellites onboard Vega LV with LARES were ALMASat 1, e-st@r, Goliat, MaSat 1, PW-Sat1, ROBUSTA, XaTcobeo, LARES-A&H/SS.

UniCubeSat-GG transmitted data for a period of time. The dedicated team at Rome ground station received the spacecraft’s signals shortly after the launch.


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