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

  • Bartram P, Bridges C, Bowman D, Shirville G. (2017) 'Software Defined Radio Baseband Processing for ESA ESEO Mission'. Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation AMSAT Journal, 2017 (Jul/Au), pp. 15-21.


    The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) is a micro-satellite mission to low Earth orbit and is being developed, integrated, and tested by European university students as an ESA Education Office project. AMSAT-UK and Surrey Space Centre are contributing to the mission with a transceiver and transponder similar to that of FUNcube-1 with the addition of utilising a Atmel AT32 processor for packet software-redundancy, baseband processing, forward error correction, and packet forming; acting as a step towards software defined radio using low MIPS automotive microprocessors. As on the FUNcube-1 satellite, the telemetry formats and encoding schemes presented utilize a large ground network of receivers on the VHF downlink and conforms to 1200 bps and a new 4800 bps redundant downlink for the rest of the spacecraft. The uplink is on L-band using bespoke partial-CCSDS frames.

  • Maheshwarappa M, Bowyer M, Bridges CP. (2017) 'Improvements in CPU & FPGA Performance for Small Satellite SDR Applications'. IEEE IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 53 (1), pp. 310-322.


    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.
  • McKie R. (2011) 'How Britain can rejoin the space race'. The Observer The Observer,
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    With the space shuttle on the eve of its final mission, British companies are at the forefront of innovation to drive the next wave of space exploration

  • 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

  • Taylor BO, Duke R, Stewart B, Massimiani C, Djamane F, Bridges CP, Aglietti GS, Lassakeur A, Amine Ouisb M, Cherif Ladouze M, Meftah K, Underwood CI, Chikouche A, Hamed D. (2017) 'AlSat-Nano: Knowledge Transfer to Operational Partnership'. International Astronautical Federation 68th International Astronautical Congress Proceedings, Adelaide, Australia: 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC)


    The AlSat-Nano mission is a joint endeavour by the UK and Algeria to build and operate a 3U CubeSat. The project was designed to provide training to Algerian students, making use of UK engineering and experience. The CubeSat was designed and built by the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) of the University of Surrey and hosts three UK payloads with operations run by the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL). The educational and CubeSat development were funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA), whilst the UK payloads were self-funded. Launch and operations are funded by ASAL. This paper illustrates the development of the programme, the engineering of the satellite and the development of collaborative operations between the SSC and ASAL.

  • Eckersley S, Saunders C, Lobb D, Johnston G, Baud T, Sweeting MN, Underwood CI, Bridges CP, Chen R. (2017) 'Future Rendezvous and Docking Missions enabled by low-cost but safety compliant Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) architectures'. British Interplanetary Society Proceedings of The 15th Reinventing Space Conference, Strathclyde University Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, Scotland: The 15th Reinventing Space Conference, 24-26 October 2017, Glasgow, Scotland


    Proximity flight systems for rendezvous-and-docking, are traditionally the domain of large, costly institutional manned missions, which require extremely robust and expensive Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) solutions. By developing a low-cost and safety compliant GNC architecture and design methodology, low cost GNC solutions needed for future missions with proximity flight phases will have reduced development risk, and more rapid development schedules. This will enable a plethora of on-orbit services to be realised using low cost satellite technologies, and lower the cost of the services to a point where they can be offered to commercial as well as institutional entities and thereby dramatically grow the market for on-orbit construction, in-orbit servicing and active debris removal. It will enable organisations such as SSTL to compete in an area previously exclusive to large institutional players. The AAReST mission (to be launched in 2018), will demonstrate some key aspects of low cost close proximity “co-operative” rendezvous and docking (along with reconfiguration/control of multiple mirror elements) for future modular telescopes. However this is only a very small scale academic mission demonstration using cubesat technology, and is limited to very close range demonstrations. This UK National Space Technology Programme (NSTP-2) project, which is being carried out by SSTL and SSC, is due to be completed by the end of November 2017 and is co-funded by the UK Space Agency and company R&D. It is aiming to build on the AAReST ("Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope") mission (where appropriate), and industrialise existing research, which will culminate in a representative model that can be used to develop low-cost GNC solutions for many different mission applications that involve proximity activities, such as formation flying, and rendezvous and docking. The main objectives and scope of this project are the following:  Definition of a reference mission design (based on a scenario that SSTL considers credible as a realistic scenario) and mission/system GNC requirements.  Develop a GNC architectural design for low cost missions applications that involve close proximity formation flying, rendezvous and docking (RDV&D) - i.e. “proximity activities”  Develop a low cost sensor suite suitable for use on proximity missions  Consider possible regulatory constraints that may apply to the mission The SSTL/SSC reference mission concept is a

  • 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


    The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) is a micro-satellite mission to Low Earth Orbit and is being developed, integrated, and tested by European university students as an ESA Education Office project. AMSAT-UK and Surrey Space Centre are contributing to the mission with a transceiver and transponder similar to that of FUNcube-1 with the addition of utilising a Atmel AT32 processor for packet software-redundancy, baseband processing, forward error correction, and packet forming; acting as a step towards software defined radio using low MIPS automotive microprocessors. As on the FUNcube-1 satellite, the telemetry formats and encoding schemes presented utilize a large ground network of receivers on the VHF downlink and conforms to 1200 bps and a new 4800 bps redundant downlink for the rest of the spacecraft. The uplink is on L-band using bespoke partial-CCSDS frames. This paper details the flight software on the engineering and flight models to ESA, and the technical configuration and associated tests of demonstrating the processor load is under for varying operating and sampling modes. In particular, a key contribution will be the details of utilising the Google Test Suite for verification of the SDR functions and FreeRTOS tools to optimize processor load margins to 30% when operating parallelized ADC and DAC, and CAN-open telemetry chains and what memory considerations are needed to ensure stable long-term operations.

  • Nezzari Y, Bridges CP. (2017) 'Compiler Extensions towards Reliable Multicore Processors'. 2017 Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Montana, USA: 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference


    The current trend in commercial processors is producing multi-core architectures which pose both an opportunity and a challenge for future space based processing. The opportunity is how to leverage multi-core processors for high intensity computing applications and thus provide an order of magnitude increase in onboard processing capability with less size, mass, and power. The challenge is to provide the requisite safety and reliability in an extremely challenging radiation environment. The objective is to advance from multiple single processor systems typically flown to a fault tolerant multi-core system. Software based methods for multi-core processor fault tolerance to single event effects (SEEs) causing interrupts or ‘bit-flips’ are investigated and we propose to utilize additional cores and memory resources together with newly developed software protection techniques. This work also assesses the optimal trade space between reliability and performance. Our work is based on the modern compiler “LLVM” as it is ported to many architectures, where we implement optimization passes that enable automatic addition of protection techniques including Nmodular redundancy (NMR) and error detection and correction (EDAC) at assembly/instruction level to languages supported. The optimization passes modify the intermediate representation of the source code meaning it could be applied for any high level language, and any processor architecture supported by the LLVM framework. In our initial experiments, we implement separately triple modular redundancy (TMR) and error detection and correction codes including (Hamming, BCH) at instruction level. We combine these two methods for critical applications, where we first TMR our instructions, and then use EDAC as a further measure, when TMR is not able to correct the errors originating from the SEE. Our initial experiments show good performance (about 10% overhead) when protecting the memory of code using double error detection single error correction hamming code and TMR (Triple modular redundancy), further work is needed to improve the performance when protecting the memory of code using the BCH code. This work would be highly valuable, both to satellites/space but also in general computing such as in in aircraft, automotive, server farms, and medical equipment (or anywhere that needs safety critical performance) as hardware gets smaller and more susceptible.

  • Davidson R, Bridges CP. (2017) 'GPU Accelerated Multispectral EO Imagery Optimised CCSDS-123 Lossless Compression Implementation'. IEEE 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Montana, USA: 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference


    Continual advancements in Earth Observation (EO) optical imager payloads has led to a significant increase in the volume of multispectral data generated onboard EO satellites. As a result, a growing onboard data bottleneck need to be alleviated. One technique commonly used is onboard image compression. However, the performance of traditional space qualified processors, such as radiation hardened FPGAs, are not able to meet current nor future onboard data processing requirements. Therefore, a new high capability hardware architecture is required. In previous work a new GPU accelerated scalable heterogeneous hardware architecture for onboard data processing was proposed. In this paper, two new CUDA GPU implementations of the state-of-the-art lossless multidimensional image compression algorithm CCSDS-123, are discussed. The first implementation is a generic CUDA implementation of the CCSDS-123 algorithm whilst the second is optimised specifically for multispectral EO imagery. Both implementations utilise image tiling to leverage an additional axis for algorithm parallelisation to increase processing throughput. The CUDA implementation and optimisation techniques deployed are discussed in the paper. In addition, compression ratio and throughput performance results are presented for each implementation. Further experimental studies into the relationships between algorithm user definable compression parameters, tile sizes, tile dimensions and the achieved compression ratio and throughput, were performed.

  • 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


    While small, low-cost satellites continue to increase in capability and popularity, their reliability remains a problem. Traditional techniques for increasing system reliability are well known to satellite developers, however, their implementation on low-cost satellites is often limited due to intrinsic mass, volume and budgetary restrictions. Aiming for graceful degeneration, therefore, may be a more promising route. To this end, a stem-cell-inspired, multicellular architecture is being developed using commercial-off-the-shelf components. It aims to replace a significant portion of a typical satellite’s bus avionics with a set of initially identical cells. Analogous to biological cells, the artificial cells are able to differentiate during runtime to take on a variety of tasks thanks to a set of artificial proteins. Each cell reconfigures its own proteins within the context of a system-wide distributed task management strategy. In this way, essential tasks can be maintained, even as system cells fail. This paper focusses on two hardware implementations of the stem-cell inspired architecture. The first implementation, based on a single cell, serves as the Payload Interface Computer on a CubeSat named SME-SAT. The second hardware implementation is a benchtop system composed of several cells intended to demonstrate a complete multicellular system in operation. In order to demonstrate the feasibility of these multicellular architectures, the physical attributes of the hardware implementations are compared to those of more traditional implementations and are shown to have enhanced reliability at the cost of increased power and internal bus bandwidth.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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. (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.
  • Underwood CI, Pellegrino S, Lappas V, Bridges CP, Taylor BO, Chhaniyara S, Theodorou T, Shaw P, Arya M, Breckinridge J, Hogstrom K, Patterson K, Steeves J, Wilson L, Horri N. (2013) 'Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope (AAReST) – A CubeSat/Microsatellite Based Technology Demonstrator'. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Proceedings of the 27th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (SmallSat 2013), Logan, Utah, USA: 27th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (SmallSat 2013)


    Future space telescopes with diameter over 20 m will require in-space assembly. High-precision formation flying has very high cost and may not be able to maintain stable alignment over long periods of time. We believe autonomous assembly is a key enabler for a lower cost approach to large space telescopes. To gain experience, and to provide risk reduction, we propose a demonstration mission to demonstrate all key aspects of autonomous assembly and reconfiguration of a space telescope based on multiple mirror elements. The mission will involve two 3U CubeSat-like nanosatellites (“MirrorSats”) each carrying an electrically actuated adaptive mirror, and each capable of autonomous un-docking and re-docking with a small central “9U” class nanosatellite core, which houses two fixed mirrors and a boom-deployed focal plane assembly. All three spacecraft will be launched as a single ~40kg microsatellite package.

  • Bridges CP, Yeomans B, Iacopino C, Frame T, Schofield A, Kenyon S, Sweeting MN. (2013) 'Smartphone Qualification & Linux-based Tools for CubeSat Computing Payloads'. Big Sky, MT USA: IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference 2013


    Modern computers are now far in advance of satellite systems and leveraging of these technologies for space applications could lead to cheaper and more capable spacecraft. Together with NASA AMES’s PhoneSat, the STRaND-1 nanosatellite team has been developing and designing new ways to include smart-phone technologies to the popular CubeSat platform whilst mitigating numerous risks. Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) have led in qualifying state-of-the-art COTS technologies and capabilities - contributing to numerous low cost satellite missions. The focus of this paper is to answer if 1) modern smart-phone software is compatible for fast and low cost development as required by CubeSats, and 2) if the components utilised are robust to the space environment. The STRaND-1 smart-phone payload software explored in this paper is united using various open-source Linux tools and generic interfaces found in terrestrial systems. A major result from our developments is that many existing software and hardware processes are more than sufficient to provide autonomous and operational payload object-to-object and filebased management solutions. The paper will provide methodologies on the software chains and tools used for the STRaND-1 smartphone computing platform, the hardware built with space qualification results (thermal, thermal vacuum, and TID radiation), and how they can be implemented in future missions.

  • 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 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
  • 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.

  • 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, 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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,
  • 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.
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