The tiny space satellite that you can build and launch yourself

Most of the thousand or so operational satellites in orbit are multi-million-dollar machines that provide major industries with scientific research, global positioning or military espionage. Twenty-five-year-old Tom Walkinshaw, however, hopes to prove that satellites are not the preserve of leviathan space agencies, and that, for a comparatively small sum ($20,000), the workaday enthusiast can build and launch a fully functioning satellite of their own. One year old next January, his company PocketQube Shop provides the basic materials for doing this, most importantly the PocketQube structure itself – a tiny, 5cm³ casing made from aerospace-grade aluminium – which houses each satellite’s components.

Tiny satellites show us the Earth as it changes in near-real time

Satellite imaging has revolutionized our knowledge of the Earth, with detailed images of nearly every street corner. But Planet Labs’ Will Marshall says we can do better and go faster — by getting smaller. He introduces his tiny satellites — no bigger than 10 by 10 by 30 centimeters — that, when launched in a cluster, provide high-res images of the entire planet, updated daily.

Historic comet landing set to be shared by Loughborough College Space students

After a mission which began ten years ago, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe lander separated early this morning, November 12, and seven hours later will touch down on Comet 67P. If successful, this will be the first time a probe has ever landed on a comet.
Students on the Loughborough College Space Engineering 16+ programme, launched in association with the National Space Academy, are hoping to see the moment of touchdown, captured on live link up to the National Space Centre, when the landing gear will absorb the forces while ice screws in each of the probe’s feet and a harpoon system locks Philae to the surface. At the same time, a thruster will push it down to counteract the impulse of the harpoon.

BBC talks to Loughborough College about vital role for unique space programmes in growing global industry

The pioneering Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering was launched by Loughborough College this year in association with the National Space Academy and the University of Leicester, who have been asked to help with the Indian government’s space launch plans.

The highly successful 16+ Space Engineering course, in association with the National Space Academy and offered nowhere else in the UK, is now in its third year and Loughborough College Head of Technology Dr Martin Killeen told BBC Radio Leicester’s Manish Vermeer how both programmes have a crucial part to play in helping Leicestershire build on its central role in the expanding UK and international space economy.

Second year space engineering student Nam Vu discusses his current project, designing a robotic snake which can travel on the surface of Mars. Fahima Hassan and Mansi Joshi describe the workshops they hold to get young people interested in space and science and Ed Bridge talks about the course content and the range of options it offers him for future work and study.

Listen to BBC Radio Leicester’s Manish Vermeer interviewing Loughborough College’s Head of Technology Dr Martin Killeen and the space engineering students here – 1:08 into the programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02c54ly

Make it your mission to succeed

The Sunday Telegraph hears from Loughborough College’s Head of Technology Dr Martin Killeen about the Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering, offering the potential to study for a BSc or BEng while working.
“After four years you can come out with an honours degree, minus the student loans, and with two or three years’ work experience on your CV.”

New Space Station Era as Earth Science Observation Platform

The instrument will measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring.

“Most satellite missions require weeks or even months to produce data of the quality that we seem to be getting from the first few days of RapidScat,” said RapidScat Project Scientist Ernesto Rodriguez of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, which built and manages the mission.

“We have been very lucky that within the first days of operations we have already been able to observe a developing tropical cyclone.”

Met Office launches space weather forecasting service

There is a growing need for the information which will now be publicly available on the Met Office website. A full suite of forecasts, alerts and warnings will appear – informing viewers of impending aurorae, solar flares and potentially damaging events such as coronal mass ejections – hefty eruptions of magnetised plasma that can take days to reach Earth but carry the power to knock out power grids when they arrive.

Young engineers join the space race

Aimed at those with qualifications or experience in maths, science or engineering the apprenticeship combines paid on-the-job training with more formal learning. After two years it leads to a foundation degree, which can become a BSc or BEng after another two years of study. This builds on the success of the 16+ space engineering programme.

Company offers satellite tracking free to help search for missing planes

Aireon LLC, a provider of satellite-based aircraft monitoring, said on Monday it will offer its tracking data for free to help authorities search for future missing planes.

The system will go live in 2017, when its parent company Iridium Communications Inc finishes installing 66 next-generation satellites plus spares that will provide real-time data to air traffic control centers.

While Aireon’s system might not have prevented the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished from radar on March 8 and is presumed to have crashed, killing 239 people, it could have vastly improved the search.