Technology Missions

Maintained Formation Experiment: UoSat-2 & UoSat-12

One of the key advantages of using several satellites flying in close formation to achieve a mission objective is the ability to replace satellites in the formation and synchronising recently launched satellites with pre-existing formations. This was achieved between UoSat-2 and UoSat-12, utilising the two points around the satellite's orbit where the two orbital planes intersect and performing several incremental impulsive burns to match radii and inclinations. In order to determine whether the control system had been successful, we switched on a receiver on UoSat-12 that would listen in to the telemetry broadcast by UoSat-2. The signal provided a large spike to determine precisely the time of closest approach. The predicted time of closest approach was 11:59:23 which corresponds extremely well with the peak which was estimated to be a final 6.43 km distance.

Further information can be found in our Astrodynamics Research Group

SNAP & Tsinghua Rendezvous Mission

In 2000, the dual launch opportunity of the Surrey SNAP nanosatellite & Chinese Tsinghua microsatellite allowed SSC to perform a rendezvous experiment where the SNAP satellite could use its propulsion and vision capabilities to catch up and image it from close proximity using its novel CMOS based vision system. The propulsion system brought the satellites to within 2 km separation, exhausting all propellant which was hoping to enable SNAP to test an intersatellite receiver to pick up the telemetry transmission from the Chinese microsatellite. While this experiment failed to demonstrate proximity operations, it did demonstrate the technologies needed formation flying experiments and using subsequent technological improvements perform this experiment today.

Further information can be found in our Astrodynamics Research Group

STRaND Missions

Space researchers at the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have developed a series of high risk missions named: Surrey Training, Research & Nanosatellite Demonstrators (STRaND). STRaND-1, a nanosatellite containing a smartphone payload that will be launched into Low Earth orbit in Q4 2012. STRaND-1 is being built in engineer's and researcher's free time and uses advanced commercial off-the-shelf components, which fits perfectly with SSC & SSTL's innovation and low-cost philosophies. The SSC Lead for the project is Dr Chris Bridges.


UoSat-2 and 12



SNAP and Tsinghua



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