A tiny, highly integrated, 2kg 'nanosatellite' SNAP-1 has been built as a research project at Surrey for launch alongside UoSAT-12 to image the 'mother' minisatellite and launch vehicle. Future applications for the nanosatellite are for remote inspection of satellites and monitoring of deployment systems in orbit, and carrying small space science instruments requiring measurements with spatial diversity.
SNAP-1 is a highly-integrated and sophisticated spacecraft weighing just 6kg with advanced micro-miniature GPS navigation, on-board computing, propulsion and attitude control technologies -- all developed in the UK.
SNAP-1's primary payload is a machine vision system capable of inspecting other spacecraft in orbit and the tiny spacecraft will use its propulsion and navigation systems to rendezvous after launch with another Surrey-built satellite, Tsinghua-1, in order to demonstrate orbital formation flying for the first time.
This will lead the way to the development of micro/nano- satellite swarms and constellations in orbit that are due to revolutionise space exploration in the 21st Century.
Recent advances in the miniaturisation of electronic and mechanical technologies have made it possible to construct a new breed of tiny nanosatellites weighing less than 10kg and dramatically reducing the cost of access to space.
This development opens up many new possibilities for space exploration at low cost for a far wider community of scientists and businesses.
NASA has only recently begun to consider the possibility of using micro/nano- satellite technologies for use in space exploration. It is little-known that the UK has a world-lead in this technology through the innovative work, over the last 20 years, of the Surrey Space Centre and its company SSTL.
SSTL has already launched 14 microsatellite missions and one minisatellite, with a further 3 microsatellites ready for launch this year.
The SNAP-1 nanosatellite will be launched on a COSMOS rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia.
XMM Space Telescope Takes Self Portrait
Paris - December 11, 1999 - The XMM spacecraft, launched on 10 December from Kourou, has sent back pictures of itself in space. The photographs were taken by two micro-cameras placed on the exterior of the spacecraft's focal plane assembly. Provided by OIP, subsidiary of Delft Sensor Systems, Antwerp, Belgium, the two cameras (10 x 6 x 6cm) each weigh but 430 grams.