AI and Robotics (STAR LAB)

We are the Space Technology for Autonomous and Robotic systems Laboratory (STAR LAB).

STAR LAB brochure

(3.4 MB .PDF)


We are a team of academic scholars, engineers and roboticists whose vision is to build on four decades of R&D heritage in small spacecraft engineering at University of Surrey and extend this philosophy to advance autonomous systems and robotics for space. We also look at transfer of our knowledge and technologies to terrestrial applications and to help maximise impact of our research work.

The STAR LAB became functional since 2007. We leads Surrey's involvement within the UK-RAS Network, and are an active participant and co-organiser to the UK Robotics Week. We are also the hosting research lab of the UKRI/UKSA hub on the Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE). Our other international community activities include leading the IEEE-CIS Task Force on Intelligent Space Systems and Operations, UK-RAS White Paper on Space Robotics, TAROS 2017, etc.

International recognitions

Our Lab and its members have received many national and international recognitions including:

  • International Astronautical Federations (IAF) 3AF Edmond Brun Silver Medal in 2013
  • Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Outstanding Paper Award in 2016
  • First Prize of UKSEDS Lunar Rover Competition in 2017
  • Joint Winner of ESA SysNova Challenge on Lunar CubSat Exploration in 2018
  • Finalist of IEEE/ASME's AIM Best Paper Award in 2019
  • Top 3 worldwide of ESA/Stanford Pose Estimation Challenge in 2019
  • First Prize of Best Poster Award at IEEE-ICRA Space Robotics Workshop in 2020.
  • First Prize of 14th Sino-UK Entrepreneuship Competition in 2022, etc.

Enabling technologies

Our main research expertise and key research products include the following:

Key space systems

The technologies developed at STAR Lab are used to realise next generation spacecraft and vehicles, including rovers, robotic arms, wasp drills and penetrators.

Space and non-space missions