The Micro/Nano-Satellite Revolution
The University of Surrey, together with its spin-out company – SSTL – is a world leader in the design, construction and operation of micro-satellites. Recent technological advances have made it possible to construct even smaller satellites, at an order of magnitude less cost. These “nano-satellites” open up many new possibilities for space exploration.
In 2000, Surrey launched its first 6.5 kg nano-satellite: SNAP-1, which demonstrated remote inspection and autonomous orbital manoeuvring using advanced miniaturised technologies. Surrey is now working on a STRaND-1, a ~3kg Cubesat, which will demonstrate new smart-phone and electric propulsion technology in orbit. Such satellites pave the way for formations of ultra-miniature spacecraft, which together are capable of synthesising complex functions.
This lecture reviews the history of satellite activities at Surrey and discusses the technologies that will revolutionise space exploration in the 21st Century.