University Space Team Sign Launch Partnership
A student-led satellite group from the University of Edinburgh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Responsive Access, a launch brokerage firm that participates in the European Space Agency Business Incubation programme, with a view to procuring a launch opportunity.
Student satellite group Asteria are hosted at Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre innovation hub. Their team is working on the production of a ‘CubeSat’ –a small satellite around the size of a shoebox –in order to monitorthe likes of vegetative blight and flooding, as well as a new mission entitled,"Remote Sensing of Air Pollution: New Insights Into Seasonal Respiratory Diseases", which started two months ago in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. By partnering with Responsive Access, the project’s chance of finding a swift and suitable launch opportunity will increase, while the group intend to benefit from the various mission management processes provided by the space brokerage company from their base at the Higgs Centre for Innovation, part of the Royal Observatory site in Edinburgh. Asteria was founded last year to address the motivated interests in data science and space engineering among Edinburgh’s students and academics, with a view to developing solutions around matters of the environment and the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs). They plan to achieve their aims using purpose-built satellites, state-of-the-art sensors, robust system designs and advanced post-processing.The CubeSat project is supported by the University Fellow for Space and Satellite Analysis, as well as academics from the Schools of Geosciences, Informatics and Engineering. Ani Vasudevan, Managing Director at Asteria said,
"We're thrilled to be collaborating with Responsive Access for the launch of our first satellite, Oracle 1. Developing a satellite from mission planning to launch is something that very few, if any, students in the UK have exposure to, yet many are enthralled by the potential. This is true in a time where student projects are becoming an increasingly vital aspect of learning at Universities. This partnership with Responsive Access will help Asteria nurture that excitement in space for many years and many satellites to come."
Their base at the Bayes Centre allows them to work alongside cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence developments, as part of an innovation hub that was opened in 2018 by Her Royal Highness,The Princess Royal, after receiving funding through the Edinburgh City Deal. Edinburgh is currently home to several space data organisations capturing and
analysing downstream data for a variety of reasons, including the monitoring of environmental change, food and agricultural stock and maritime channels. The data-driven innovation taking place in the city is partof a wider space ecosystem in the country that has seen over a hundred satellites built in Glasgow, rocket manufacturers developing launch systems and no-less than five developing spaceport sites in areas such as Prestwick and Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. Responsive Access Chief Executive, Andrew Paliwoda, stated,
“Our team are delighted to have been selected to help move Asteria’s exciting project towards launch. The opportunity to work with leading UK universities provides us with a valuable way to fine-tune our offering, which is based around the delivery oflow-cost launch via our launch vehicle partners. It also lets us test the ancillary services that we can offer to clients, from environmental testing and certification for satellites, through to assistance with insurance and license paperwork”.
The partnership with Asteria marks the further milestone for Responsive Access, following their announcement last month surrounding their support of GU Orbit, based at the University of Glasgow, with their mission preparation.