Radio Amateurs in Raspberry Pi Foundation Article

Dr Chris Bridges 2E0OBC at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium - Credit DK3WN

Dr Chris Bridges 2E0OBC at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium – Credit DK3WN

An article posted on the Raspberry Pi Foundation website describes the work of two radio amateurs at the Surrey Space Centre in Guildford.

Dr Chris Bridges, 2E0OBC, leads the spacecraft On-Board Data Handling group in the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey. He researches and teaches computer hardware and software to provide reliable computer processing in the harsh radiation environment of space. Chris is also an amateur radio enthusiast, with a passion for hacking almost any electronics for space and telling everyone that the sky is most definitely not the limit. He was involved at the beginning of the Astro Pi project back in 2014, since he has been working on numerous space flight projects involving Raspberry Pi devices and has been doing thermal and vacuum tests on them with his students.

Chris is working on the on-board computer for the STRaND2 and AAReST CubeSat missions, along with CalTech and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US. These CubeSat missions require the processing and detection of other CubeSats in flight for rendezvous and docking experiments, as well as for collision avoidance manoeuvres.

These kinds of CubeSats employ light detection and ranging technologies (LIDAR) as a way to measure distance to nearby objects in space. This works by illuminating the target with a laser beam and then analysing the reflected light to calculate how far away the target is.

Postgrad student and radio amateur Richard Duke M6TLE achieved this with a Raspberry Pi, an ordinary Microsoft Kinect and some custom Linux drivers that he rewrote himself. He now works at Surrey Space Centre as a software engineer.

Read the full Raspberry Pi article at https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/compute-module-cubesats/

Detailed information on the work is in this paper on AAReST published in Acta Astronautica
https://www.academia.edu/16685779/Using_CubeSat_micro-satellite_technology_to_demonstrate_the_Autonomous_Assembly_of_a_Reconfigurable_Space_Telescope_AAReST_
and in this paper on STRaND2 given at the IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference.
https://www.academia.edu/3073489/STRaND-2_Visual_Inspection_Proximity_Operations_and_Nanosatellite_Docking

Smartphone and Kinect Satellite Presentations at Guildford

Dr Christopher Bridges (2nd from left) discussing why space is cool on Sky News

Dr Chris Bridges recently appeared on the nationwide TV channel Sky News discussing why space is cool. On September 15-16 he will be giving two presentations to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ.

Chris will cover the Nexus Android Smartphone amateur radio satellite STRaND-1 which will carry both a Resistojet and a Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) module and STRaND-2 which comprises two 3U CubeSats that will use Microsoft Xbox Kinect controller technology for docking.

UPDATE: For videos of the two STRaND presentations see http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=10297

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CubeSat docking planned with Kinect technology

It’s an informal conclusion, of course. But the story of Surrey’s plan to dock CubeSats using Microsoft’s Kinect technology is certainly making the rounds, appearing in traditional places like Satnews and Flightglobal, as well as consumer electronic sources such as Gizmagodo and general news sites like the BBC.

The Kinect-enabled STRaND-2 is the sister craft to the previously announced STRaND-1, which uses smartphone tech.

Developing technology that could be used to separately launch the parts of a much larger craft that would be configured on orbit might bring those larger craft, and more ambitious goals, within reach of the CubeSat community.

It’s been a while since any news was forthcoming, but Cornell has also proposed using CubeSats to test reconfigurable technology that uses “flux-pinning” (video) to achieve similar goals.

Here’s to their success.

 

Wayne

 

STRaND-2 and OSCAR-5 in SatMagazine

The STRaND-2 nanosats feature in the June issue of the free publication SatMagazine.

These innovative satellites, being developed in the UK by the University of Surrey and SSTL, feature on pages 25 and 26 of the magazine

Additionally on page 71 there is a picture of the satellite OSCAR-5 that was built by radio amateurs at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Download the June 2012 SatMagazine at http://www.satmagazine.com/2012/SM_Jun2012.pdf

SatMagazine http://www.satmagazine.com/

STRaND-2 ‘Kinect’ Satellites Video http://www.uk.amsat.org/7851

Surrey Satellite to put Xbox parts in space http://www.uk.amsat.org/7771

‘Kinect’ STRaND-2 at UK Space Agency Conference http://www.uk.amsat.org/6795

STRaND-2 ‘Kinect’ Satellites Video

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.

Further information at http://www.sstl.co.uk/divisions/earth-observation—science/science—exploration/strand-2-building-blocks-nanosatellite

‘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

STRaND-2 ‘Kinect’ Satellites Video

STRaND-2 NanosatsSTRaND-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.

Further information at http://www.sstl.co.uk/divisions/earth-observation—science/science—exploration/strand-2-building-blocks-nanosatellite

‘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