10/09/2013 Europe has reached another milestone in its contribution to Hubble's successor - the James Webb Space Telescope. An industrial team led from Astrium in Germany has completed the build of the Near-Infrared spectrometer, one of four instruments that will go in JWST. NirSpec's job will be to determine the age, composition, movement and distance of the objects in its field of view. The expectation is that some of these targets will include the very first stars to shine in the Universe. That would mean picking up light signals that have travelled across space for perhaps 13.6 billion light-years - something Hubble cannot do.
07/08/2013 A consortium of companies will try to establish the business case for a reusable space plane in a new European Space Agency (Esa) funded study. The concept under investigation is Skylon, a vehicle proposed by the UK firm Reaction Engines Ltd (REL). Skylon would be powered by an air-breathing rocket engine that could enable it to take off and land at a standard runway. Esa funding for the study is 1m euros (£0.9m). It will run to the end of the year and will look at how a Skylon vehicle might operate in a market for satellite launches from the early 2020s onwards. The research will be led by REL themselves. It will address the economics and some of the outstanding technical issues.
24/07/2013 Alphasat, as it is known, is the latest mission for one of London's - and the UK's - most successful space companies: Inmarsat. The firm is the big daddy of global communications on the move. Its constellation of satellites enables people to stay in touch wherever they are. This means phone calls, internet connections and audio-visual material. When you watch TV news crews filing reports from far-flung places, the video is very probably being fed over Inmarsat's network. Ships, oil rigs and increasingly planes are major users of Inmarsat's services, as are the British armed forces.
24/06/2013 An innovative new space network goes into orbit on Monday. O3b will put a series of satellites 8,000km above the Earth to provide communications to those parts of the world that have poor fibre optic infrastructure. With backing from blue chip companies such as Google, O3b believes its novel system can change the broadband experience for millions of people. The network's first four satellites will launch from French Guiana. They will ride a Soyuz rocket from the Sinnamary spaceport, with lift-off scheduled for 15:53 local time (18:53 GMT). It will take just over two hours for the Soyuz's Fregat upper-stage to raise the satellites to their operational altitude.
15/05/2013 Two major elements in Britain's space strategy have been officially unveiled in Oxfordshire. One is the European Space Agency's (ESA) first technical centre in the UK, to be known as the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecoms. The other is the Satellite Applications Catapult, one of seven new government initiatives intended to drive innovation in growing areas of the British economy. Both centres are on the Harwell campus. Their co-location is quite deliberate. The Oxfordshire science park, most visible for its giant Diamond synchrotron facility, is already home to a lot of space activity, not least the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, which builds and tests satellite equipment.
24/04/2013 Space debris collisions are expected to rise according to new research. Unless space debris is actively tackled, some satellite orbits will become extremely hazardous over the next 200 years, a new study suggests. The research found that catastrophic collisions would likely occur every five to nine years at the altitudes used principally to observe the Earth.
Scientists at the University of Surrey, working on the project funded by the European space company Astrium, have devised a 3 kg miniature satellite or "nanosatellite" fitted with a "solar sail". "CubeSail" is a device which can be fitted to satellites or launch vehicle upper stages that are sent into orbit and then can be deployed to successfully de-orbit equipment that has reached the end of its mission.
We specialise in furthering the knowledge and understanding of satellites, space vehicles and earth stations used in communications, navigation, earth observation, remote sensing and space exploration.
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HYLAS 1 - From dream to reality
Learn more about the HYLAS 1 project and view the presentation from a previous IET event Skylon Lecture 2012
The Skylon solution for better space transportation. View the presentation from Alan Bond who discussed the SABRE engines and development of the technology. Solar Orbiter - Europe visits the Sun
Learn about the science behind the Solar Orbiter mission, the instruments involved and the design of the mission and spacecraft.