Space Technology Centre at University of Dundee opened by Lord Sainsbury

The Space Technology Centre at the University of Dundee was opened on March 18th by Lord Sainsbury, Undersecretary of State for Science and Technology. The Space Technology centre brings together the Satellite Receiving Station at Dundee, the Space Systems Research Group and related commercialisation activities.

Leading edge research in the fields of onboard electronic systems for spacecraft and satellite data reception, along with related teaching and commercialisation activities form the core of the Space Technology Centre. The Space Systems Research Group at Dundee has had a major influence on the design of spacecraft onboard data-handling networks having led the work on the SpaceWire network standard which is now being used on many ESA and NASA spacecraft. A spin-out company STAR-Dundee Ltd is commercialising SpaceWire technology and now has many blue chip customers across the world including ESA and NASA.

The Space Systems Research Group also does research on planetary lander systems and its PANGU planet surface simulation tool is being used by ESA, Astrium and other for research and development of planetary lander systems.

The NERC Satellite Receiving Station has been receiving satellite data since 1978. It now provides data from several satellites to environmental scientists across the UK. The Satellite Receiving Station is an important component in the UK for monitoring the Earth from space supporting many environmental research projects.

The research work of the Space Technology Centre feeds into the Electronics and Computing BSc degree programme and the Remote Sensing MSc.

JAXA visits STAR-Dundee Ltd

Scientists and engineers from Japan today visited the Space Systems Research Group at the University of Dundee and used equipment from STAR-Dundee Ltd to test their SpaceWire equipment. JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, are planning to use SpaceWire technology on the Bepi Colombo mission to Mercury, and the NeXT Xray telescope.

STAR-Dundee Ltd displays its SpaceWire equipment at International SpaceWire Seminar

STAR-Dundee Ltd presented and demonstrated its range of SpaceWire equipment to the International SpaceWire Seminar held at the European Space Agency Technology Research Centre (ESTEC) in The Netherlands.

The SpaceWire Router-USB nine port router unit with eight SpaceWire ports and one USB2.0 port is aimed at SpaceWire system develop support. The router is functionally compatible with the SpaceWire router ASIC being developed by ESA.

The SpaceWire Brick provides a low cost evaluation platform for SpaceWire. With two SpaceWire interfaces and a USB2.0 interface, the SpaceWire Brick acts as an interface into a host PC. Power for the SpaceWire Brick is supplied over the USB connection making it ideal for portable development and test equipment.

The SpaceWire Monitor was also demonstrated. This unit provides an effective means of monitoring the state of a SpaceWire link, showing the link state and traffic on two sets of LEDs, one for each direction of the link. The SpaceWire Monitor also has connectors for plugging in a logic analyser so that the characters flowing through the link can be captured and displayed. The SpaceWire Monitor does the SpaceWire character decoding so that setting up the logic analyser is simple.

SpaceWire Standard Issued

The SpaceWire standard, ECSS E50-12A, was issued by the European Cooperation for Space Standardization on 23rd January 2003. This standard was written by Steve Parkes, head of the Space Systems Research Group at the University of Dundee and Managing Director of STAR-Dundee Ltd, with input from engineers across Europe. Early versions of SpaceWire are already being used on several European and American missions. It is anticipated that with the publication of the SpaceWire standard that an increasing number of missions will use SpaceWire technology.