SSTL Exec: Use of Game Console Technology “Game Changer”
STRaND-2 is the latest mission in the STRaND (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) program, following on from the smartphone-powered STRaND-1 satellite that is near completion. Similar in design to STRaND-1, the identical twin satellites will each measure 30cm (3 unit Cubesat) in length, and utilize components from the XBOX Kinect games controller to scan the local area and provide the satellites with spatial awareness on all three axes.
University of Surrey Space Center Project Lead Christopher Bridges told Satellite Today Insider how the idea to use game console technology came about. “The idea originated from our first satellite, STRaND-1, which is experimenting with using smartphone technologies in space as well as an advanced attitude and orbit control system. The next logical step for us was to decide which other technologies we could exploit! Given that our current research topics at the University include satellite inspection and rendezvous and docking, we chose the Kinect. Inspection using the Kinect is targeted to assess damage and develop close proximity operations, especially at GEO,” he said.
Bridges believes this technology could even be classed as a game changer in the satellite industry. He said, “Yes, absolutely (it is a game changer). Being able to visually assess assets in space and maneuver around them can only lead to further exploration opportunities; not just satellites but asteroids too.”