UK Space Agency funds development of new laser-based satellite communication system

Artist’s impression of laser communication between satellites. Credit: University of Northumbria

The UK Space Agency has awarded Northumbria University around £650,000 to continue its cutting-edge work to develop the first commercially available laser-based inter-satellite 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 received £360,000 last year to complete 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 Centre, Gateshead-based satellite communications technology company e2E Group and Nottingham-based communications and electronics manufacturer SMS Electronics Limited. ..

They plan to bring the three CubeSats together to create a device the size of a shoebox to house the new laser communication system. This poses a significant challenge because the technology, which is normally used on a much larger scale, must 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 sent into orbit easily and inexpensively and improve data transfer in space. It will also improve real-time satellite monitoring of environmental issues on Earth, allowing climatologists to view high-resolution images and broadcast live remotely.

The first device should be ready for extensive testing in early 2023, with the aim of getting it on track by 2025.

The UK space agency has announced funding of around £7 million as part of its national space innovation programme. Northumbria is one of the UK’s top 11 organisations, comprising a mix of businesses and three universities, Cambridge, Edinburgh and The Open University, with part of the funding to implement the latest advances in space innovation. Reward.

While most projects focus on climate change or environmental management, Northern Bria is the only project to receive funding related to satellite communications, a world leader in the North East region with a focus on satellite communications technology. Work is allowed.

The project is led by Dr Emon Scalion, a solar physicist from the Solar Earth Sciences Research Group in Northumbria. He says, “We are very happy to have obtained 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 create and test your design.

“This is no mean feat. Electronic boards, light lasers, receivers and transmitters must be carefully designed, tested and miniaturized. They are compatible with satellites and can be ‘space certified’. Otherwise said, they are tested to ensure that these satellites continue to operate at optimal levels. Addresses the effects of orbit, radiation, atmospheric resistance and freezing temperatures of space.”

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

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

“Our Solar Earth Science research group has grown in recent years and is becoming one of the main areas of research in North Bria as it has become more influential and recognized by major funders and Commercial Partners.

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

The prize will help Britain achieve the latest advances in space innovation, said George Freeman, Minister for Science.

“Satellites in space are helping solve some of the biggest challenges we face,” he said. “Through our National Space Strategy, we are at the forefront of deploying 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 space research. The University’s Solar Earth Sciences Research Group conducts research to monitor and predict space weather and mitigate the risks it poses to communications systems, satellites, and power grids. Meanwhile, the Institute for Aerospace Medicine and Rehabilitation is researching the effects of reduced gravity on astronauts. “The body and how it transforms into conditions commonly found on earth, such as back pain. In addition, Northumbria University has leading expertise in the field of space law, conducting pioneering research into the framework of governance of human activity in outer space.

UK Space Agency funds development of new laser-based satellite communication system Source link UK Space Agency funds development of new laser-based satellite communication system

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