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Space Blog

Reinventing Space Conference 2017, Glasgow

SSTL will be presenting two papers at the Reinventing Space Conference 2017 in Glasgow next week.  
Reinventing Space, organised by the British Interplanetary Society, is a conference and exhibition dedicated to one of the space industry’s fastest growing sectors – low cost access and utilisation of space. It is the largest conference worldwide in this important sector and was the second biggest space event in the UK during 2015.

Tuesday 24 October, 09.30

“Future Rendezvous and Docking Missions enabled by low-cost but safety compliant Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) architectures”. 

Proximity flight systems for rendezvous-and-docking, have traditionally been the domain of large, costly institutional missions, which require extremely robust and expensive GNC solutions.

However, we are now entering into a new and exciting era of space exploitation, with a significant number of new mission applications on the horizon which will require close proximity rendezvous and docking and/or formation flying, to enable the creation of new space services, and the generation of new commercial and institutional markets on-orbit. These missions in turn will require lower cost GNC and sensor approaches, in order to be commercially competitive, whilst still being safety compliant.

In order to prepare for these future commercial mission demands, SSTL and our colleagues at Surrey Space Centre (SSC) are currently collaborating on a UK National Space Technology Programme (NSTP-2) project to develop low-cost GNC and sensor architectures for future rendezvous and docking missions. The baseline mission concept used to focus the study, is a “co-operative” (i.e. both spacecraft work together) rendezvous and docking mission demonstrator, using two microsatellites.
This paper will present an overview of the study including the latest results.
Tuesday 24 October, 09.50

Why Video from Space?

Still imagery has a number of limitations in applications related to surveillance, disaster monitoring and news gathering. Video can provide additional contextual information, and space borne video systems have been demonstrated several times over the past decades. Single video imaging spacecraft in LEO are limited in application, as they cannot cover specific target areas on the globe frequently enough. Furthermore, previous video imaging missions have generally lacked the necessary resolution to allow fine scale human activity to be monitored, such as traffic and crowds.
Small satellites have now matured to the point where high resolution video imaging is feasible, with batches of 10’s of spacecraft costing the same as a single traditional imaging satellite. Over the past years SSTL has been developing such video imaging mission prototypes, with the launch of Carbonite-1, and the planned launch of Carbonite-2 in 2017.

In the two years since the launch of Carbonite-1, lessons learned from the mission have been fed into the Carbonite-2 mission. Furthermore, the development of video image processing techniques has helped improve data products for target tracking video products to the point where commercial utility can be illustrated. This paper will describe the SSTSL video imaging spacecraft, quantifies performance, and discusses typical uses through example data products. 





19 October 20170 Comments1 Comment

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