SSTL has won a contract with QinetiQ and ESA's Aurora programme to research in-situ resource utilisation methods for future Mars exploration.
The work will take place over the next six months and cover the system level design of an In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) chemical factory for the production of, for example, rocket propellant and life support consumables in future robotic and manned Mars missions.
In addition, it will look at novel methods for generating oxygen using carbon nano-fibre technology. SSTL is also contributing to broader QinetiQ research into future power systems for space exploration.
In a second contract with QinetiQ and ESA, SSTL is to develop a high-performance micro-miniaturised rocket engine for future small satellites. Additional partners are TNO's Prins Maurits Laboratory in the Netherlands and the Angstrom Laboratory at Uppsala University in Sweden.
The work will study the performance that can be achieved with precision engineered, miniature conventional parts, in comparison to MEMS systems, as well as the potential for micro-turbopumps.
The partners will also manufacture a small monopropellant demonstrator engine that will be tested at SSTL's propulsion facility at Westcott, UK.
Surrey Satellite Technologies
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CWRU Grad Student To Launch Satellite Prototype
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Christopher Fennig hails from Holly Pines Christmas Tree Farm outside Bryant, Ind. Like Homer Hickman Jr., the coal miner's son whose story was told in the movie, "October Sky," Fennig looks to space for his future.
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