Dr Christopher Bridges

Research Interests

Research interests include agents, middleware/network stacks, IP cores, multi/network processors, embedded systems, distributed satellite systems, distributed/cloud computing, CubeSat development, and neuro-morphology.

Research Collaborations

Visual Inspection Payload - Astrodynamics Group

The feasibility of performing a visual inspection mission between two satellites is being investigated utilising a microelectromechanical (MEMS) thruster built by EADS Astrium. The combined thrusting, imaging, and processing requirements will go towards a new integrated hardware and software payload design.

AMSAT-UK and ESA - ESEO Mission

The OBDH Group has been bring together technologies for a VHF and L-band communication system where Dr Bridges' group and students have been working on automotive components and software defined radio technologies to fly a new radio architecture.


Spacecraft Avionics - since Spring 2014, Module Link

Computers & Programming II: Microprocessor Organisation & Design - since Spring 2013, Module Link

Digital Design with VHDL Labs - Autumn 2007 & Autumn 2008, Lectures since Spring 2013 Module Link

Multi-Disciplinary Design Project - since Spring 2014, Module Link

Spacecraft Bus Subsystems - Power, TT&C, & On-board Data Handling (OBDH) - Spring 2012 to 2014 (retired)

Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft Labs - Autumn 2010 to 2013 (retired)

Departmental Duties

Member of Electronic Engineering Industrial Advisory Board (IAB)

Surrey Space Centre Marketing & Website Management

Surrey Space Centre Social Media (Facebook & Twitter)


IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, USA - Session Chair in Software and Computing, www.aeroconf.org

Chair of the U.K. CubeSat and Nanosatellite Forum, Bringing together industry, academia, entrepreneurs for one voice to government, www.cubesatforum.org.uk

AMSAT-UK Member and OFCOM Radio License Holder (2E0OBC)

Press Releases & Interviews

Raspberry Pi Foundation, Compute Module CubeSats (Guest Blog), 16 Oct 2015

The Guardian, The space industry is growing – and looking for talented postgrads, 14 Jan 2015

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Pioneer 10 - Space Man (p.14-15), Summer 2013

Uni. of Surrey, Surrey Space Centre Lecturer Nominated for Sir Arthur C. Clarke Award, 28 June 2013

Daily Mail, UK to launch first-ever satellite controlled by a mobile phone… and the scientists have chosen a Google Nexus handset, 8 Feb 2013

BBC Radio 4, Material World: TB vaccine, Satellites, Lake Ellsworth, Antarctic Station, 7 Feb 2013

Gizmodo, UK Scientists Are Launching a Satellite Powered By… a Google Nexus One?, 7 Feb 2013

Stuff, Space exploration? There’s an app for that, 7 Feb 2013

BBC News: Science & Environment, Strand-1 'phone-sat' ready for orbit, 7 Feb 2013

The Good Times Guide, Surrey in Space: TG2Surrey Attempts to Boldly Go Where Many More Informed Men Have Gone Before…, Jan 2013

TechRepublic, Why Microsoft’s Kinect and Google’s Android are headed to space, 29 June 2012

United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA), Dr Chris Bridges - Career Profile, June 2012

BBC News: Science & Environment, Thinking outside the box in space, 29 May 2012

New Scientist, Space apps: smart-phone at heart of satellite mission, 5 October 2011

The Observer, How Britain can rejoin the space race, 3 July 2011

Fox News, Ground Control to Major Smartphone? NASA Wants Phones to Pilot Spaceships, 11 February 2011

BBC News: Science & Environment, Mobile phone to blast into orbit, 24 January 2011

University of Surrey, Minister of State for Universities and Science praises work of Surrey scientists, 21 July 2010

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 9137

Find me on campus
Room: BA U


Journal articles

  • Maheshwarappa MR, Bowyer MDJ, Bridges CP. (2017) 'Improvements in CPU & FPGA Performance for Small Satellite SDR Applications'. IEEE IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 53 (1)
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    The ongoing evolution in constellation/formation of CubeSats along with steadily increasing number of satellites deployed in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), demands a generic reconfigurable multimode communication platforms. As the number of satellites increase, the existing protocols combined with the trend to build one control station per CubeSat become a bottle neck for existing communication methods to support data volumes from these spacecraft at any given time. This paper explores the Software Defined Radio (SDR) architecture for the purposes of supporting multiple-signals from multiple-satellites, deploying mobile and/or distributed ground station nodes to increase the access time of the spacecraft and enabling a future SDR for Distributed Satellite Systems (DSS). Performance results of differing software transceiver blocks and the decoding success rates are analysed for varied symbol rates over different cores to inform on bottlenecks for Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) acceleration. Further, an embedded system architecture is proposed based on these results favouring the ground station which supports the transition from single satellite communication to multi-satellite communications.

  • Underwood C, Pellegrino S, Lappas VJ, Bridges CP, Baker J. (2015) 'Using CubeSat/micro-satellite technology to demonstrate the Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope (AAReST)'. Acta Astronautica, 114, pp. 112-122.
  • Maheshwarappa MR, Bridges CP. (2014) 'Software defined radios for small satellites'. Proceedings of the 2014 NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, AHS 2014, , pp. 172-179.
  • Bridges CP, Vladimirova T. (2013) 'Towards an agent computing platform for distributed computing on satellites'. IEEE IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 49 (3), pp. 1824-1838.
  • Bridges CP, Vladimirova T . (2012) 'Agent Computing Platform for Distributed Computing in Space'. IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, Article number TAES-201100494
    [ Status: Submitted ]
  • Kenyon S, Barrera-Ars J, Pryce L, Liddle D, Bridges CP, Underwood C. (2012) 'STRAND-2: Kinecting two cubesats in flight'. Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC, 6, pp. 4554-4571.
  • Bridges CP, Vladimirova T. (2008) 'Real-Time Agent Computing Platform for Distributed Satellite Systems'. International Review on Computers and Software, 3 (6), pp. 651-665.

Conference papers

  • Nezzari Y, Bridges CP. (2017) 'Compiler Extensions for Reliable Multicore Processors'. IEEE 2017 Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Montana, USA: 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Erlank AO, Bridges CP. (2017) 'Satellite Stem Cells: The Benefits and Overheads of Reliable, Multicellular Architectures'. IEEE Proceedings of 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Montana, USA: 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Bartram P, Bridges CP, Bowman D, Shirville G. (2017) 'Software Defined Radio Baseband Processing for ESA ESEO Mission'. IEEE Proceedings of 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Montana, USA: 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Davidson RL, Bridges CP. (2017) 'GPU Accelerated Multispectral EO Imagery Optimised CCSDS-123 Lossless Compression Implementation'. IEEE Montana, USA: 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Duke R, Bridges C, Stewart B, Taylor B, Massimiani C, Forshaw JL, Aglietti G. (2016) 'Integrated Flight & Ground Software Framework for Fast Mission Timelines'. Proceedings of 67th International Astronautical Congress 2016, Guadalajara, Mexico: 67th International Astronautical Congress


    Flight and ground segment software in university missions is often developed only after hardware has matured sufficiently towards flight configuration and also as bespoke codebases to address key subsystems in power, communications, attitude, and payload control with little commonality. This bespoke software process is often hardware specific, highly sequential, and costly in staff/monitory resources and, ultimately, development time. Within Surrey Space Centre (SSC), there are a number of satellite missions under development with similar delivery timelines that have overlapping requirements for the common tasks and additional payload handling. To address the needs of multiple missions with limited staff resources in a given delivery schedule, computing commonality for both flight and ground segment software is exploited by implementing a common set of flight tasks (or modules) which can be automatically generated into ground segment databases to deliver advanced debugging support during system end-to-end test (SEET) and operations. This paper focuses on the development, implementation, and testing of SSC’s common software framework on the Stellenbosch ADCS stack and OBC emulators for numerous missions including Alsat-1N, RemoveDebris, SME-SAT, and InflateSail. The framework uses a combination of open-source embedded and enterprise tools such as the FreeRTOS operating system coupled with rapid development templates used to auto-generate C and Python scripts offline from ‘message databases’. In the flight software, a ‘core’ packet router thread forwards messages between threads for inter process communication (IPC). On the ground, this is complemented with an auto-generated PostgreSQL database and web interface to test, log, and display results in the SSC satellite operations centre. Profiling is performed using FreeRTOS primitives to manage module behaviour, context, time and memory – especially important during integration. This new framework has allowed for flight and ground software to be developed in parallel across SSC’s current and future missions more efficiently, with fewer propagated errors, and increased consistency between the flight software, ground station and project documentation.

  • Davidson RL, Bridges CP. (2016) 'Adaptive Multispectral GPU Accelerated Architecture for Earth Observation Satellites'. 201 IEEE International Conference on Imaging Systems and Techniques (IST) Proceedings, Chania, Crete Island, Greece: 2016 IEEE International Conference on Imaging Systems and Techniques (IST 2016)
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Erlank AO, Bridges CP. (2016) 'The Satellite Stem Cell Architecture'. Athens, Greece: 2016 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (IEEE SSCI 2016)
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    Low-cost satellites continue to grow in popularity and capability, but have shown poor on-orbit performance to date. While traditional satellite missions have relied upon expensive fault prevention techniques, such as component screening, the use of radiation hardened components, and extensive test campaigns, low-cost missions must focus on fault tolerance, instead. This paper describes a novel, fault-tolerant system architecture, named Satellite Stem Cells. The Satellite Stem Cell Architecture, which is based on artificial cells, evolved from research into traditional reliability theory, bio-inspired engineering, and agentbased computing. Traditional reliability theory points towards k-out-of-n architectures for their superior reliability, while cell biology demonstrates how to build extremely multifunctional subsystems. Finally, agent computing provides a solution for facilitating the cooperation of a set of autonomous cells in a peer-to-peer environment. This paper describes the development of the architecture, details the artificial cell design, and gives preliminary implementation details

  • Erlank AO, Bridges CP. (2015) 'A Multicellular Architecture towards Low-Cost Satellite Reliability'. IEEE 2015 NASA/ESA CONFERENCE ON ADAPTIVE HARDWARE AND SYSTEMS (AHS), Montreal, CANADA: 2015 NASA ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems AHS
  • Maheshwarappa MR, Bowyer M, Bridges CP. (2015) 'Software Defined Radio (SDR) architecture to support multi-satellite communications'. IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2015-June
  • Sorensen TC, Bergman JES, Saunders C, Gao Y, Lappas V, Liddle D, Mouginis-Mark P, Nunes MA, Palmer P, Underwood C, Bridges C. (2014) 'Using a constellation of small satellites to characterize the RF quiescence of the lunar farside'. Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC, 6, pp. 4071-4083.
  • Underwood C, Pellegrino S, Lappas VJ, Bridges C, Baker J. (2014) 'Using cubesat/micro-satellite technology to demonstrate the autonomous assembly of a reconfigurable space telescope (AAREST)'. Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC, 5, pp. 3430-3439.
  • Bridges CP, Yeomans B, Iacopino C, Frame TE, Schofield A, Kenyon S, Sweeting MN. (2013) 'Smartphone Qualification & Linux-based Tools for CubeSat Computing Payloads'. IEEE Big Sky, MT USA: IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference 2013
  • Bridges CP, Taylor B, Horri N, Underwood CI, Kenyon S, Barrera-Ars J, Pryce L, Bird R. (2013) 'STRaND-2: Visual Inspection, Proximity Operations & Nanosatellite Docking'. Big Sky, MT USA: IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference 2013
  • Kenyon S, Bridges CP, Liddle D, Dyer R, Parsons J, Feltham D, Taylor R, Mellor D, Schofield A, Linehan R. (2011) 'STRaND-1: Use of a $500 Smartphone as the Central Avionics of a Nanosatellite'. International Astronautical Federation Proceedings of the 2nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, (IAC ’11), Cape Town, South Africa: 62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, (IAC ’11)


    STRaND-1 is the first in a series of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL)-Surrey Space Centre (SSC) collaborative satellites designed for the purpose of technology path finding for future commercial operations. It is the first time Surrey has entered the CubeSat field and differs from most CubeSats in that it will fly a modern Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Android smartphone as a payload, along with a suite of advanced technologies developed by the University of Surrey, and a payload from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. STRaND- 1 is also different in that anyone (not just from the space engineering or space science community) will be eligible to fly their “app" in space, for free. STRaND-1 is currently being manufactured and tested by volunteers in their own free time, and will be ready for an intended launch in the first quarter of 2012. This paper outlines the STRaND pathfinder programme philosophy which challenges some conventional space engineering practises, and describes the impact of those changes on the satellite development lifecycle. The paper then briefly describes the intent behind the design of STRaND-1, before presenting details on the design of the nanosatellite, focussing of the details of the innovative new technologies. These technologies include two different propulsion systems, an 802.11g WiFi experiment, a new VHF/UHF transceiver unit and a miniature 3-axis reaction wheel assembly. The novel processing setup (which includes the smartphone) is discussed in some detail, particularly the potential for outreach via the open source nature of Google's Android operating system. A stepthrough of the planned concept of operations is provided, which includes a possible rendezvous and inspection objective, demonstrating equal or improved capability compared to SNAP-1 with a reduced total system mass. Finally, data from the test campaign is presented and compared against other notable CubeSats known for their advanced capabilities. Rendered images of STRaND-1 are shown in Fig. I and are discussed later in the paper.

  • Kenyon S, Bridges CP, Liddle D, Dyer B, Parsons J, Feltham D, Taylor R, Mellor D, Schofield A, Lineham R, Long R, Fernandez J, Kadhem H, Davies P, Gebbie J, Holt N, Shaw P, Visage L, Theodorou T, Lappas VJ, Underwood CI. (2011) 'STRaND-1: Use of a $500 smartphone as the central avionics of a nanosatellite'. Cape Town, SA: 62nd International Astronautical Congress
  • Bridges CP, Kenyon S, Underwood CI, Sweeting MN. (2011) 'STRaND: Surrey Training Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator'. International Academy of Astronautics Proceedings of the1st IAA Conference on University Satellite Missions and CubeSat Workshop, Rome, Italy: 1st IAA Conference on University Satellite Missions and CubeSat Workshop
  • Bridges CP, Vladimirova T. (2011) 'Real-time agent middleware experiments on java-based processors towards distributed satellite systems'. IEEE IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Big Sky, MT: 2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference, pp. 1-10.


    Distributed satellite systems are large research topics, spanning many fields such as communications, networking schemes, high performance computing, and distributed operations. DARPA's F6 fractionated spacecraft mission is a prime example, culminating in the launch of technology demonstration satellites for autonomous and rapidly configurable satellite architectures. Recent developments at Surrey Space Centre have included the development of a Java enabled system-on-a-chip solution towards running homogenous agents and middleware software configurations.

  • Boshuizen CR, Marshall W, Bridges CP, Kenyon S, Klupar PD. (2011) 'Learning to Follow: Embracing Commercial Technologies and Open Source for Space Missions'. International Astronautical Federation Proceedings of the 62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, (IAC ’11), Cape Town, South Africa: 62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, (IAC ’11) (IAC-11-D4.2.5)
  • Bridges CP, Palmer P. (2011) 'Demonstrating Visual Inspection of Solar Sail Surfaces'. European Space Agency http://www.congrex.nl/11a01/, Carlsbad, Czech Republic: 8th International ESA Conference on Guidance and Navigation Control Systems (GNC 2011)
  • Bridges C, Kenyon S, Underwood C, Lappas V. (2011) 'STRaND-1: The world's first smartphone nanosatellite'. 2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011,
  • Bridges CP, Sauter L, Palmer P. (2011) 'Formation deployment & separation simulation of multi-satellite scenarios using SatLauncher'. IEEE IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Big Sky, MT: 2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference, pp. 1-9.


    Satellite constellation deployment for formation flying missions is one of the key areas for consideration when realizing the final constellation with reduced propellant mass requirements on the propulsion system. The use of a single launch vehicle to deploy multiple satellites into a formation is faster and cheaper but there is greater risk of collision. This risk must be managed with the competing desire to establish a relatively tight formation for better inter-satellite communication. The launcher attitude, satellite injection times and velocities are key parameters to safely achieve a given separation distance and distribution. This paper presents a visual simulator to propagate the satellite trajectories from the launcher using an expanded definition of Hill's equations, and extending to polar relative motion. It is assumed that a simple launcher is used which is incapable of reposition once in orbit. Low injection velocities are exploited to inject large numbers satellites into a stable constellation. Utilizing small tight natural motion formations help to reduce perturbations and the propellant mass required for formation maintenance. SatLauncher is a new visualization tool for investigating the relative motion and key parameters between satellites in these new missions and applications for multi-satellite launchers without the need for any further industrial tool. The QB50 mission is taken forward as a representative scenario requiring our latest software tool and new methods are presented towards collision free formation deployment.

  • Vladimirova T, Bridges CP, Paul JR, Malik SA, Sweeting MN. (2010) 'Space-based wireless sensor networks: Design issues'. IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings,
  • Bridges CP, Vladimirova T. (2009) 'Agent Computing Applications in Distributed Satellite Systems'. IEEE COMPUTER SOC ISADS 2009: 2009 INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON AUTONOMOUS DECENTRALIZED SYSTEMS, PROCEEDINGS, Athens, GREECE: 9th International Symposium on Autonomous Decentralized Systems, pp. 201-208.
  • Bridges CP, Vladimirova T. (2008) 'Dual core system-on-a-chip design to support inter-satellite communications'. IEEE COMPUTER SOC PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2008 NASA/ESA CONFERENCE ON ADAPTIVE HARDWARE AND SYSTEMS, Noordwijk, NETHERLANDS: 3rd NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, pp. 191-198.
  • Vladimirova T, Wu X, Bridges CP. (2008) 'Development of a satellite sensor network for future space missions'. IEEE 2008 IEEE AEROSPACE CONFERENCE, VOLS 1-9, Big Sky, MT: 2008 IEEE Aerospace Conference, pp. 153-162.
  • Vladimirova T, Bridges CP, Prassinos G, Wu X, Sidibeh K, Barnhart DJ, Jallad A-H, Paul JR, Lappas V, Baker A, Maynard K, Magness R. (2007) 'Characterising wireless sensor motes for space applications'. IEEE COMPUTER SOC NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, Proceedings, Univ Edinburgh, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND: 2nd NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, pp. 43-50.
  • Vladimirova T, Wu X, Jallad A-H, Bridges CP. (2007) 'Distributed computing in reconfigurable picosatellite networks'. IEEE COMPUTER SOC NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, Proceedings, Univ Edinburgh, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND: 2nd NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, pp. 682-689.
  • Vladimirova T, Wu XF, Bridges CP, Arslan T, Haridas N, Yang E, Erdogan AT, Barton N, Walton AJ, Thomson JS, Stoica A, McDonald-Maier KD, Howells WGJ. (2006) 'Intelligent and Distributed Reconfigurable System-on-Chip Sensor Networks for Space Applications - An Introduction to ESPACENET'. Washington DC, US, NASA: 9th International Conference on Military and Aerospace Applications of Programmable Logic Devices and Technologies (MAPLD'2006 A-260

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