23 May 2014 – Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) is announcing the launch of TechDemoSat-1, an in-orbit technology demonstration mission for innovative UK spacecraft equipment and software, planned for 28th June 2014 by a Soyuz-2 launch vehicle with a Fregat upper stage from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
TechDemoSat-1 is based on the SSTL-150 platform and is part-funded by a grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, and SEEDA (South East England Development Agency). The spacecraft will carry eight separate payloads from UK academia and industry, providing valuable in-orbit validation for new technologies.
Iain Gray, the Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “The UK is home to an expert space community and the Technology Strategy Board supports businesses with potential to be world leaders in this growing sector. Technology and data from space can help solve problems on the ground – in agriculture, healthcare, transport and many other areas of life. This mission is an exciting opportunity to flight test innovative technology in extreme conditions.”
The payloads flying on TechDemoSat-1 are:
- MuREM, a flexible miniature radiation and effects monitor from Surrey Space Centre
- ChaPS, a prototype compact instrument to detect electrons and ions from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory
- HMRM, a lightweight, ultra-compact radiation monitor designed to measure total radiation dose, particle flux rate and identify electrons, protons and ions from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Imperial College
- LUCID, a device to measure characterisation of the energy, type, intensity and directionality of high energy particles from the Langton Star Centre
- Compact Modular Sounder system, a modular infrared remote sensing radiometer unit from Oxford University’s Planetary Group and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
- De-orbit sail from Cranfield University
- Cubesat ADCS, a 3-axes attitude determination and control subsystem from SSBV
- Sea State Payload, a device using an enhanced GPS receiver from SSTL and components from a Synthetic Aperture Radar from Airbus Defence and Space to monitor reflected signals to determine ocean roughness
Dr Matt Perkins, SSTL’s CEO, commented “We are delighted to provide the platform that will carry innovative new British technologies into space, along with over 20 product developments for SSTL. We have worked closely with the payload providers for this mission and nothing would please us better than seeing these new technologies developed for the market as a result of the in-orbit demonstration opportunity they are being given on TechDemoSat-1.”
The Launch and Early Operations phase (LEOP) and platform commissioning will be performed by SSTL from the Satellite Applications Catapult Operations Centre at Harwell. Subsequently, the commissioning of the payloads will be performed by SSTL via its own Mission Control Centre in Guildford before handing over day-to-day operation of the payloads back to the Catapult. SSTL will continue to manage spacecraft level monitoring and operations for TechDemoSat-1 in Guildford.