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Aliens at mission control Guildford

Can you spot the Alien? Image courtesy of TopSat Consortium
As part of Open University's "James May's 20th Century" television program, the Top Gear presenter visited Mission Control in Guildford. In the program James took a journey through the 20th century by "trying out for himself some of the most surprising and influential technological advances of the past hundred years". James asked SSTL if he could 'borrow' a satellite to take a photograph of the Earth. Well, an area the size of a tennis court to be precise. A BBC production team, with the help of SSTL staff, spread white sheets on land adjacent to the small satellite manufacturer's headquarters in Guildford, carefully designed to represent a "Space Invader" alien when viewed from above. SSTL's operations team then programmed a series of images which did indeed capture the alien. The satellite tasked for the image was TopSat. Weighing just 90kg, TopSat was designed and built by SSTL for UK-customer, QinetiQ. The 2.5m imaging system was designed and built by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The satellite, which was launched in October 2005, orbits 700km above the Earth and was designed as a technology demonstrator Earth observation mission for the UK Ministry of Defence.

 

 
 

 

 

16 July 20070 Comments1 Comment

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