Dr Christopher Bridges
Lecturer in On-Board Data Handling (OBDH)
Qualifications: BEng, PhD, MIEEE, MAESS
Phone: Work: 01483 68 9137
Room no: BA U
Dr Chris Bridges obtained a BEng in Electronics at the University of Greenwich and was previously employed at BAE Systems in Rochester, Kent. He joined Surrey Space Centre as a PhD student in April 2006 under Dr Tanya Vladimirova and has since been successful in obtaining Post Doctorial positions in the VLSI Design & Embedded Systems and Astrodynamics Groups. He is now the On-Board Data Handling Group lead and is published in agent computing, Java processing, and multi-core system-on-a-chip technologies. He runs the Implementing Intelligence for Aerospace Session at the IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference at Big Sky, Montana, USA.
Chris is the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) Lead Engineer & Researcher for the collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) mission 'Surrey Training Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator' programme (STRaND). STRaND-1 began in April 2010 and aims to fly the latest smartphone technologies and advanced attitude orbit and control system (AOCS). STRaND-2 aims to fly two nanosatellites towards close-proximity operations/imaging and rendezvous & docking demonstration utilising the Microsoft Kinect.
Chris is passionate about communicating all things space through his teaching, regular media, and social websites. Read more about Chris on his UK Space Agency Career Profile page. Keep up to date on current events & news on the Surrey Space Centre Facebook or SpaceAtSurrey Twitter!
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.
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.
- 'Towards an agent computing platform for distributed computing on satellites'. IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 49 (3), pp. 1824-1838. . (2013)
- 'STRAND-2: Kinecting two cubesats in flight'. Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC, 6, pp. 4554-4571. . (2012)
- 'Real-Time Agent Computing Platform for Distributed Satellite Systems'. International Review on Computers and Software, 3 (6), pp. 651-665. . (2008)
- 'Smartphone Qualification & Linux-based Tools for CubeSat Computing Payloads'. IEEE Big Sky, MT USA: IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference 2013 . (2013)
- 'STRaND-2: Visual Inspection, Proximity Operations & Nanosatellite Docking'. Big Sky, MT USA: IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference 2013 . (2013)
- '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)Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/26828/
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.
- '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 WorkshopFull text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/26829/
- '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)Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/26826/
- '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)Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/26827/
- '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.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/26830/
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.
- 'STRaND-1: The world's first smartphone nanosatellite'. 2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011, . (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.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/26831/
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.
- 'Space-based wireless sensor networks: Design issues'. IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, . (2010)
- '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. . (2009)
- '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. . (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. . (2008)
- '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. . (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.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/2002/
- '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 . (2006)
Computers & Programming II: Microprocessor Organisation & Design - Spring 2013, Module Link
Spacecraft Bus Subsystems - Power, TT&C, & On-board Data Handling (OBDH) - Spring 2012, Module Link
Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft Labs - Since Autumn 2010, Module Link
Digital Design with VHDL Labs - Autumn 2007 & Autumn 2008
Press Releases & Interviews
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
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