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STAR-Dundee Press Coverage October 2017

STAR-Dundee Press Coverage October 2017

STAR-Dundee has recently transitioned to an employee owned company and our story has been shared far and wide by the press including local and national newspapers and websites. The Courier highlighted STAR-Dundee’s move to employee ownership in securing our future in Dundee and The Herald wrote ‘To boldly go: Dundee space tech firm moves into staff ownership’.

Many websites posted the story on their news pages including:  Co-operative NewsDundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce  DIGITEmployee Benefits Website FutureScot Good UniversitySatnews, and Scottish Business News Network.

While the University of Dundee’s School of Science and Engineering and Centre for Entrepreneurship wrote stories on the transition, as well as the Research and Innovation Services sharing the news on social media.

Our new employee owned status means we are now proud members of Employee Ownership Association who also shared our story on their news page.

Alongside this STAR-Dundee are finalists in 3 of the Courier Business Awards 2017. Today’s Courier contains a supplement with more information on the finalists including STAR-Dundee in 3 categories; Design and Innovation Business of the Year, Science and Technology Business of the Year and Enterprise in Education.

We have also recently set up a twitter account where you can keep up to date with STAR-Dundee, follow us here: https://twitter.com/STAR_Dundee

If there are any features that we have missed please let us know by emailing Lucy.Robertson@star-dundee.com and we can add them in as soon as possible.

STAR-Dundee at Space Tech Expo Europe 2017

STAR-Dundee at Space Tech Expo Europe 2017

On the 24-26th of October 2017, STAR-Dundee are attending Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen, Germany.

At stand G11 we will be demonstrating the new STAR Fire Mk3 product, which can act as a SpaceFibre interface, a SpaceWire to SpaceFibre bridge and a SpaceFibre link analyser. STAR Fire Mk3 devices are connected to SpaceWire Brick Mk3 units and we are demonstrating each of these modes of the STAR Fire.

We will also be tweeting from @STAR_Dundee, follow us there for updates.

For more information on Space Tech Expo visit: http://www.spacetechexpo.eu/ and make sure to visit us at our stand G11, view the floor plan here: http://www.spacetechexpo.eu/exhibit/floor-plan/

Employee Ownership Launched at STAR-Dundee

Employee Ownership Launched at STAR-Dundee

Images from left to right: STAR-Dundee employee-owners outside STAR House | Steve Parkes, former CEO, back in the lab as CTO with the new SpaceFibre equipment | Employee Ownership Association Proud to be a member badge |

Aerospace engineering company selects employee ownership to secure future and root business in Dundee

STAR-Dundee is now proudly employee owned and part of the Employee Ownership Association.

STAR-Dundee is an aerospace engineering company which designs electronic components and test equipment for spacecraft. Operating from a beautiful townhouse close to the University of Dundee from which the company spun out in 2002, STAR-Dundee provides the international space agencies and space industry with important equipment. Technology that originated in Dundee is now being used across the world on more than one hundred spacecraft which are monitoring the Earth, exploring nearby planets and asteroids, mapping our galaxy and sensing the further flung parts of our solar system. The ‘SpaceWire’ network technology interconnects sensors and electronic equipment onboard a spacecraft, providing an efficient and versatile means of integrating the equipment together. This is similar to the way in which USB connects peripheral devices to a laptop.

Originating primarily because several organisations wanted to use technology developed by the University of Dundee, STAR-Dundee has grown from an academic and a few enthusiastic research students, who initially worked in their spare time to design and develop the first products. The company now employs 25 people and has offices in both Dundee and Barcelona. STAR-Dundee focuses on what it is good at, the design of electronic equipment and related software, and sub-contracts appropriately skilled manufacturing partners in the UK.

After celebrating our fifteenth year in business this year, and to secure the long-term future for the company, STAR-Dundee was transformed from a company run and majority owned by the founding academic, Prof Steve Parkes, to an employee owned company. Facilitated by a succession planning project initiative by Scottish Enterprise, various options were considered for the company and it soon became clear that employee ownership was the way forward for a company like STAR-Dundee.

Prof Steve Parkes said: “Having formed STAR-Dundee and forged it over 15 years into a company with a worldwide reputation, I realised that I was not going to be around to see it through the next 15 years. It became clear that the future for the company was about the people in the company that had helped make it a success and the culture that we had developed to support that success. Selling the company to another organisation, which would inevitably change the culture and might even move it from its Dundee base, was not a very attractive idea. Employee ownership retains and strengthens the culture and will ensure that it always has a base in Dundee.”

Our management team has been restructured with former CEO Steve Parkes now focusing on technology development as Chief Technology Officer, and Stuart Mills, another company founder and previously Chief Operating Officer, becoming CEO. Carole Carrie, the Administration Manager, is now Company Secretary. These management changes are intended to provide a firm foundation for further growth of the company.

A new technology, SpaceFibre, is currently being launched by STAR-Dundee. Developed over the past ten years, SpaceFibre is designed for high-performance, high-availability applications. SpaceFibre is designed primarily for spacecraft applications, but is creating interest in the robotics, medical equipment and other industries where performance and availability are critical drivers.

Stuart Mills, STAR-Dundee’s new CEO, said: “STAR-Dundee has been a great success because of its people.  Our move to employee ownership allows these individuals to have a greater say in the running of the company and to further benefit from the company’s success.”

Sarah Deas, director at Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scottish Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models, added: “STAR-Dundee’s main priorities when considering its succession options were to secure and strengthen the business, both in terms of its culture and success, and also to ensure the business remains rooted in Dundee. All of these objectives have been achieved through employee ownership as well as making sure the staff all have a meaningful stake in their company and its future success.”

Diane Taylor, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee, said: “STAR-Dundee is a prime example of innovation in University research making a real impact beyond academia. We would like to congratulate the whole STAR-Dundee team, and wish them every success for the future.”

If you would like a copy of our full press release about our transition to employee ownership to include on your website or in your publication please email: Lucy.Robertson@STAR-Dundee.com

SpaceWire Conference 2018

SpaceWire Conference 2018, Los Angeles, USA

The 8th International SpaceWire Conference will take place in Los Angeles, USA from 14th-18th of May 2018.

The conference aims to bring together product designers, hardware engineers, software engineers, system developers and mission specialists interested in and working with SpaceWire and SpaceFibre to share their latest ideas and developments. The conference is for both academics and industrialists and will be attended by representatives from industry and the major space agencies.

The technical programme will include sessions dedicated to the below topics:

  • Missions and applications, which covers missions using SpaceWire and SpaceFibre, how they have been used on existing or planned spacecraft and other applications of these technologies.
  • Components which covers devices supporting the SpaceWire and SpaceFibre Standards such as sensor devices, electronic components, ASICs & FPGAs, cables and connectors.
  • On-board equipment and software, which covers products supporting the SpaceWire and SpaceFibre Standards including on-board equipment, instruments and related on-board software.
  • Test and verification, which covers the test and verification of SpaceWire and SpaceFibre components, equipment and systems including FPGA/ASIC validation techniques, cable/connector testing and approaches to system level test.
  • Networks and protocols, which covers network architectures, configuration, discovery and “plug and play” concepts, higher-level protocols for SpaceWire and SpaceFibre and related software designs and issues.
  • Standardisation, which covers the SpaceWire and SpaceFibre Standards, new protocols being prepared for standardisations and candidates for future standardisation.

The call for papers is open and the deadline for abstracts is the 28th of October.
More information on this here: 2018.spacewire-conference.org/call-for-papers

Interested in being an exhibitor at the conference?
Find out more information here: 2018.spacewire-conference.org/exhibitor-information

The proceedings of the 2016 SpaceWire conference held in Yokahama, Japan can be seen here: 2016.spacewire-conference.org/proceedings

For more information visit the conference website here: 2018.spacewire-conference.org

Touching the Moon; Sensing an Asteroid

Touching the Moon; Sensing an Asteroid

On the 16th of November 2017 Dr Iain Martin will deliver a talk ‘Touching the Moon; Sensing an Asteroid’ at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre.

The talk will highlight the work of the University of Dundee’s Space Technology Centre in building and developing PANGU (Planet and Asteroid Natural scene Generation Utility) by presenting a range of real and imaginary planetary surfaces.

Event Description:
Landing on the surface of the moon, another planet, a comet or an asteroid is a journey of imagination, scientific discovery and above all an engineering challenge. It leads to a new level of perception, an encounter with the unknown and the excitement of exploration.

For the past two decades, the University of Dundee has been engaged in this engineering challenge, designing vision-based navigation systems able to safely guide robotic explorers to a safe landing on the surface of other planets. One of its main achievements is the development of PANGU, a software tool for testing these essential vision-based navigation systems. PANGU is able to create highly realistic planet or asteroid surfaces and simulate a spacecraft with cameras and other sensors approaching and sensing the surface on which it is to land.

Dr Iain Martin, University of Dundee, will introduce PANGU and present a series of images and videos of real and imaginary planetary surfaces.

Find out more and book your free ticket to Touching the Moon; Sensing an Asteroid.

This event sits alongside an Exhibition of Kelly Richardson’s work ‘The Weather Makers’ featuring Richardson’s piece Mariner 9 which was created using scenery-generation software in combination with technical data from NASA’s missions to Mars.

STAR-Dundee shortlisted for Courier Business Awards 2017

Courier Business Awards 2017

We are very excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for three of this year’s Courier Business Awards – Design & Innovation, Enterprise in Education and Science & Technology Business of the Year.

In 2013 we were named Business of the Year at the inaugural Courier Business Awards, an accolade we are very proud of.

This year the Courier Business Awards celebrates five years of recognising and supporting businesses and individuals from across Tayside, Fife, Perthshire and Angus. We are delighted to be part of this strong business community and highlighted as finalists this year.

A list of all finalists was published in the courier today (23rd of August 2017) on pages 20 and 21 and on their website here.

The awards will take place on Saturday the 28th of October 2017 at the Apex Hotel, Dundee.

STAR-Dundee at Small Sat 2017

STAR-Dundee at Small Sat 2017

On the 5th – 10th of August 2017, STAR-Dundee are attending the 31st Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah, USA.

At Booth 31 in the main hall (Taggart Student Center) we are demonstrating the new STAR Fire Mk3 product, which can act as a SpaceFibre interface, a SpaceWire to SpaceFibre bridge and a SpaceFibre link analyser. STAR Fire Mk3 devices are connected to SpaceWire Brick Mk3 units and we are demonstrating each of these modes of the STAR Fire.

For more information on Small Sat visit: https://www.smallsat.org/index and make sure to visit us at Booth 31.

STAR-Dundee at Microsemi India 2017

STAR-Dundee at Microsemi India 2017

This week STAR-Dundee is attending Microsemi Space Forum India in Bangalore on the 25th of July and Ahmedabad on the 27th of July 2017.

Here we will be demonstrating several of our IP Cores running in the radiation-tolerant RTG4 FPGA including:

  • SpaceFibre Single-Lane operating at 3.125 Gbps
  • SpaceFibre Multi-Lane operating at 6.25 Gbps
  • SpaceWire
  • SpaceWire-to-SpaceFibre Bridge

The demo will also include the SpaceFibre Routing Switch.

This will demonstrate the RTG4 FPGA integrated with several of STAR-Dundee’s equipment to recreate a generic model of the network onboard a spacecraft.

Find out more about our SpaceFibre Multi-lane IP cores here: https://www.star-dundee.com/knowledge-base/spacefibre-ip-cores or get in touch. 

For more informaton on the forum visit: https://www.microsemi.com/spaceforum/space-forum#overview

The archive from Microsemi Space Forum North American online event is now availible here: http://www.microsemispaceforum.com/#/events. You can also view the STAR-Dundee Microsemi demo video as part of the Space Forum 2017 archive here: http://www.microsemispaceforum.com/#/page/2/2017_Demo_Videos

15 years of STAR-Dundee

STAR-Dundee Timeline 2002-2017

On the 5th of July, 2002, STAR-Dundee came in to existence. This month we are celebrating our 15th Birthday!

Our Chief Operating Officer Stuart Mills said:

‘I don’t think any of the company founders would have imagined how the company would grow in those 15 years, and the many successes we would have in that time. I’m sure they are all as proud as I am that, despite many changes, the company still maintains the same principles as we had when we were first established.’

We would like to share 15 of our highlights with you:

  1. On the 5th of July 2002 STAR-Dundee came in to existence and on the 30th of July STAR-Dundee spun out of the University of Dundee.
  2. On the 1st of December 2002 STAR-Dundee won a SMART Award from the Scottish Executive. This £45,000 grant was to help fund the development of a SpaceWire Link Analyser. Steve Parkes, was presented with the SMART award by Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Jim Wallace in Glasgow.
  3. On the 23rd of January 2003 the SpaceWire standard, ECSS E50-12A, was issued by the European Cooperation for Space Standardization.
  4. On the 18th of March 2005 the Space Technology Centre at the University of Dundee was opened by Lord Sainsbury.
  5. On the 22nd of May 2006 STAR-Dundee was awarded a second SMART Award to fund SpaceWire developments. Stuart Mills, STAR-Dundee’s Chief Operating Officer, was presented with the aSMART Awardward by Allan Wilson MSP, Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, in Glasgow.
  6. On the 17th to 19th of September 2007 STAR-Dundee assisted in hosting the first SpaceWire Conference in Dundee.
  7. In February 2010 the remote memory access protocol (RMAP) standard was published.
  8. On the 15th of December 2011 STAR-Dundee started to sell licences for PANGU – Planet and Asteroid Natural scene Generation Utility, developed by our colleagues at the Space Technology Centre within the University of Dundee for the European Space Agency.
  9. On the 15th of May 2012 we moved to STAR House!
  10. On the 2nd of July 2012 we celebrated our 10th Birthday and Steve Parkes was honoured by the Royal Aeronautical Society in awarding him a Specialist Bronze Award for his instrumental role in the inception, development and continuing success of the SpaceWire Standard.
  11. On the 8th of Feburary 2013 we enjoyed a SpaceFibre Eureka moment, when we worked with engineers from Japan to test interoperability of independent implementations of SpaceFibre IP cores.
  12. On the 1st of November 2013 STAR-Dundee was awarded Business of the Year at the Courier Business Awards 2013 in Dundee.
  13. On the 11th of September 2014 STAR-Dundee was named Scottish Business of the year at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Scottish Business Honours 2014.
  14. On the 10th to 12th of May 2016 STAR-Dundee Premiered SpaceFibre Multi-Laning at DASIA 2016.
  15. In July 2017 we celebrate our 15th Birthday and look forward to many more exciting things planned for 2017 and beyond!

STAR-Dundee at Microsemi Europe

STAR-Dundee at Microsemi Europe

On the 20th of June 2017, STAR-Dundee is attending Microsemi Space Forum, Europe. Here we will be demonstrating the Multi-Lane interface implemented in the radiation-tolerant RTG4 FPGA. This demo will include two of our IP cores; SpaceFibre multi-laning and the SpaceFibre router. Alongside this we will demonstrate the RTG4 FPGA integrated within the generic model of a network on-board a spacecraft.

Find out more about our SpaceFibre Multi-lane IP cores here: https://www.star-dundee.com/knowledge-base/spacefibre-ip-cores or get in touch.

For more information on the forum visit: https://www.microsemi.com/spaceforum/space-forum#overview

To access the online North American event visit the Archive page here: http://www.microsemispaceforum.com/#/events 

An outline of the agenda can be seen below, look out for our Microsemi video and make sure to visit us in the Demo Room.  

Start Time Session Title Presenter 
9:00Introduction and Welcome AddressKen O’Neill
9:15RT FPGA Product UpdateMinh Nguyen
10:00High Precision Frequency and Timing Solutions for SpacePeter Cash
10:30Break / Demo Room – visit us! Microsemi & Partners including STAR-Dundee
11:00Space Power and Point of Load Solutions Product OverviewChris Hart
11:45RTG4 Power Hardware Reference DesignBrian Wilkinson
12:15Lunch / Demo Room– visit us! Microsemi & Partners including STAR-Dundee
13:15RT FPGA Radiation CharacterizationJ.J. Wang
13:45Mixed Signal Solutions for SpaceDorian Johnson
14:30Achieving Timing Closure for Maximum Performance in RTG4 FPGAsHichem Belhadj
15:00Break / Demo RoomMicrosemi & Partners including STAR-Dundee
15:30Using DirectC and RISC-V to Reprogram RTG4 FPGAsKen O’Neill
15:45Next Generation Power DiscretesChris Hart
16:15Space Application FocusHichem Belhadj
16:45Q&A session and Wrap upAll
17:00End of ConferenceAll

 

 

PANGU v4.20 coming soon!

PANGU

PANGU v4.01 is now available complete with a variety of model scenarios ranging from synthetic surfaces, asteroids to the Moon and Mars. The experienced team at STAR-Dundee holds a variety of case studies and imagery generated by PANGU, and can work with you to find the right solution for your mission.

PANGU v4.20 will soon be availible.

What is PANGU?

PANGU is a software package primarily used for modelling and rendering astronomical bodies such as the Moon, Mars and asteroids, to support the design and testing of vision-guided spacecraft and landers. Developed by the University of Dundee with support from ESA, PANGU offers a high degree of realism while operating at near real-time speeds on modern desktop PCs with graphics cards that support OpenGL 4.0 and programmable GPU shaders.

PANGU can combine real data such as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) representing whole planets, higher-resolution DEMs of landing site regions and synthetic terrain to create multi-resolution models that can simulate the full descent of a planetary lander. Standard DEM projections are supported as are combining whole planet models with DEMs and atmosphere models. The ability to manage large models (i.e. greater than 64 GB) enables full lander descents to be simulated to a high degree of realism, with resolution varying from kilometres at the start of the descent to centimetres around the target landing site. Asteroids can be simulated by either importing shape models or by generating fully synthetic asteroid models.

The initial DEM can be obtained from instruments such as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Laser Altimeter or ESA’s High Resolution Stereo Camera. Alternatively, a DEM with user-defined roughness can be generated by PANGU using fractal techniques.

Base DEMs can be interpolated with fractal detail to achieve a model resolution that is much higher than that of the original DEM. Realistic craters can be added using statistical models of properties such as age and diameter distribution; ageing factors ensure that the resulting craters match those observed in images of real terrain. Boulders and positive relief features can be added to the surface controlled by various statistical distributions. For models of Mars, barchan dune fields can be modelled and craters can have flat bottoms as if filled by dust. An albedo/colour map can be applied for extra realism.

PANGU has the ability to generate camera, LIDAR and RADAR images from any position and orientation to support off-line and closed-loop simulations of planetary landing, surface roving and in-orbit rendezvous operations. The physics-based camera model includes features such as shot noise, thermal dark current, read-out noise, radiation events, photo-response non-uniformity and radial optical distortion. Pixel values can be represented at floating point precision or digitised to match ADCs with up to 16-bits. Integration with NAIF/SPICE allows images to be generated using publicly available historic and predicted data for planetary bodies and spacecraft, and the time of interest.

The practical applications of PANGU are as vast as the technology itself. From dynamic elements such as articulated rover vehicles to Martian scenes with movable dust devils, PANGU offers a realistic experience of bodies in our solar system.

Find out more about PANGU and add it to a quote request here: https://www.star-dundee.com/products/pangu-planet-and-asteroid-natural-scene-generation-utility 

Watch the following simulations to see PANGU in action: 

PANGU v4 simulation of part of a MEX/VMC orbit on 2010-May-27

PANGU v4 real-time simulation of the MSL Mars EDL on 2012-Aug-06

PANGU v4 simulation of a hypothetical Phobos lander mission on 2010-May-29

PANGU v4 simulation of a Lunar Lander descent onto Malapert mountain 2017-May-17

PANGU v4 simulation of Hayabusa/AMICA observing a rotation of Itokawa on 2005-Oct-01

PANGU – simulating planetary close encounters on ESA Youtube channel 

STAR-Dundee Press Coverage May 2017

STAR-Dundee Press Coverage May 2017

While STAR-Dundee has been very busy out and about at SEE/MAPLD, DASIA and UK Space Conference we have been in the local and national press.

As part of The University of Dundee 50 year celebrations STAR-Dundee was featured in The Courier on the 19th of May 2017.

The article written by Dundee University staff, Roddy Isles and Michael Alexander stated: ‘Dundee has become an unlikely centre for space technology research and development – many of the satellites and shuttles launched into orbit have operate with SpaceWire circuitry designed and built here, the work of Professor Stephen Parkes and colleagues now commercialised in the shape of STAR-Dundee, a Courier Business of the Year.’ In 2013 we were awarded Courier Business of the year.

Find out more about which space missions are using SpaceWire here: https://www.star-dundee.com/knowledge-base/missions-using-spacewire 

On the same day we were highlighted as part of a feature on The University of Dundee Research and Innovation services within Herald Business HQ Innovation & IP Special Report.

The article on page 14 mentioned STAR-Dundee alongside fellow University of Dundee spin-out Exscientia:

‘Kelly (Dr Orla Kelly) points to two of the most successful university spinouts; STAR-Dundee which was the commercialisation vehicle for the universities work on the SpaceWire Standard and Exscientia, a company specialising in artificial intelligence drug design.’

‘STAR-Dundee markets networks based on the SpaceWire Standard. This is a highly specified network that is designed specifically for the high data-throughput rates found on spacecraft. It is a network designed to connect together processing units, sensors, memory devices and telemetry/telecommand sub-systems.It offers numerous advantages to organisations like NASA and the European Space Agency, both of which are STAR-Dundee clients.

For a start, it reduces development costs by making it easy to integrate different sub-components into a total system, and it helps these agencies to slot individual components into different mission promoting reuse of systems.’

Find out what STAR-Dundee has to offer on our products page: https://www.star-dundee.com/products

[Photo used with permission from The University of Dundee Research and Innovation services]