UK Space Agency Funds Development of New Laser-Based Satellite Communications System

The British Space Agency has awarded Northumbria University approximately £ 650,000 to continue its world-leading work to develop the first commercially available laser-based intersatellite communication system.

Currently, satellites use radio frequencies to transmit data, which is limited in terms of speed, capacity, and data security. However, researchers at Northumbria University are working on a new laser-based communication system for small satellites called CubeSats, which has the potential to transform the satellite communications industry.

By using a laser instead of radio frequency, CubeSats is much more secure and can send 1,000 times more data per second.

The university was awarded £ 360,000 last year to carry out the discovery phase of the project. With this additional funding, the total amount awarded will exceed £ 1 million and the research team will be able to build and test the laser system over the next 12 months.

Northumbria University is leading the research in collaboration with Durham University’s Advanced Measurement Center, Gateshead-based satellite communications technology company e2E Group, and Nottingham-based communications and electronics manufacturer SMS Electronics Limited. ..

They plan to join the three CubeSats together to create a device about the size of a shoebox to hold the new laser communication system. This poses a significant challenge as the technology, which is normally used on a much larger scale, needs to be redesigned and redeveloped to fit this much smaller device and withstand the atmospheric conditions of space. ..

Their ultimate goal is to develop off-the-shelf products for major global organizations and telecommunications providers that can be easily and inexpensively sent into orbit and improve data transfer in space. It will also improve real-time satellite surveillance of environmental issues on Earth, allowing climate scientists to view high-resolution images and livestreaming remotely.

The first device is expected to be ready for extensive testing in early 2023, with the goal of getting it on track by 2025.

The British Space Agency has announced funding of approximately £ 7 million through its National Space Innovation Program. Northumbria is one of 11 major UK organizations, including a mix of companies and three universities, Cambridge, Edinburgh and The Open University, with some of the funding to put the latest advances in space innovation into action. Awarded.

While most of the projects focus on climate change or environmental management, Northern Bria is the only project to receive funding related to satellite communications, leading the world in the northeastern region with a focus on satellite communications technology. Work is permitted.

The project is led by Dr. Emon Scalion, a solar physicist in the Solar Earth Sciences Research Group in Northumbria. He states: “We are very pleased to have secured this funding to facilitate our research. This award will take us to the next stage of planning, where we will put our ideas into practice. You can build and test your design.

“This is not an average feat. Electronic boards, light lasers, receivers and transmitters need to be carefully designed, tested and miniaturized. They are satellite compatible and can be” space certified “. That is, they are tested to ensure that these satellites continue to operate at optimal levels. Addresses the effects of orbit, radiation, atmospheric resistance, and frigid space temperatures. “

Cyril Bourgenot, Technology Development Leader, Durham University Advanced Measurement Center, said: The challenge for this project is to put all this cutting-edge technology into three CubeSat units, which are basically the size of a whiskey bottle box. “

Professor Louise Bracken, Vice President of Research at Northumbria University, said:

“Our Solar Earth Sciences Research Group has grown in recent years and is becoming one of the leading areas of research in Northern Bria as it has become more influential and recognized by key research funders and business partners.

“We are particularly pleased that Northumbria’s efforts in this area are perceived as highly innovative, especially given that the government has focused on investing in satellite communications over the next decade.”

The award will help Britain carry out the latest advances in space innovation, said George Freeman, Minister of Science.

“Satellites in space help solve some of the most important challenges we face,” he said. “Through our National Space Strategy, we are at the forefront of unleashing these innovations. This new funding incorporates groundbreaking ideas from the UK space sector and our talented scientists. Realize them. “

Northumbria University is becoming famous for its interdisciplinary research on space. The University’s Solar Earth Sciences Research Group is leading research to monitor and predict space weather and mitigate the risks it poses to communication systems, satellites, and power networks. Meanwhile, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine and Rehabilitation is leading research into the effects of reduced gravity on astronauts. ‘The body and how it transforms into the conditions commonly faced on earth, such as back pain. In addition, Northumbria University has world-leading expertise in space law, conducting pioneering research into the governance framework for human activity in outer space.

UK Space Agency Funds Development of New Laser-Based Satellite Communications System Source link UK Space Agency Funds Development of New Laser-Based Satellite Communications System

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