STRaND-2, a twin nanosatellite mission from SSTL and the University of Surrey to test a novel in-orbit docking system using a gridded Lidar system based on the Microsoft Xbox Kinect games-controller technology.
Similar in design to STRaND-1, the identical twin satellites will each measure 30cm (3 unit Cubesat) in length, and utilise components from the Xbox Kinect games controller to scan the local area and provide the satellites with spatial awareness on all three axes – thus allowing them to dock.
The STRaND team sees the relatively low cost nanosatellites as intelligent “space building blocks” that could be stacked together and reconfigured to build larger modular spacecraft.
Watch STRaND-2 Docking Nanosatellite.wmv
STRaND stands for Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration and the programme is intended to be a long-term arrangement between the space company SSTL and academic researchers at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC), with STRaND-1 the first of a long line of STRaND nanosatellites.
The SSTL employees involved with the STRaND programme are volunteers. It is a condition of the programme that volunteers from SSTL and SSC use their own, free time for STRaND activities (such as lunches and breaks). The project has no budget for staff so is entirely dependent on volunteers.
‘Kinect’ STRaND-2 at UK Space Agency Conference http://www.uk.amsat.org/6795
Surrey Satellite to put Xbox parts in space http://www.uk.amsat.org/7771
The Register article http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/28/sstl_strand_2_nanosat_xbox_kinect/
Thinking outside the box in space by BBC Science correspondent Jonathan Amos http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18250755
STRaND on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nanosats