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Large ASCL delegation at the IAC in Toronto

The large ASCL delegation at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) has become a tradition! Like other years, the ASCL was well-represented at this year’s congress which took place in Toronto, Canada, from 29 September to 3 October. 12 academic staff, researchers and PhD students from the ASCL (and 3 former ASCL members) presented over 20 papers covering the entire spectrum of space topics discussed at the conference.

From left to right: Prof Massimiliano Vasile, Marcel Duering, Thomas Sinn, Jeannette Heiligers, Ciara McGrath, Robert Garner, Mattia Zamaro, Thomas Parry, Nathan Donaldson, and Daniel Garcia Yarnoz

MBE for ASCL Director Professor Colin McInnes

The ASCL is very pleased to tell that Professor Colin R. McInnes was made MBE for services to Space Research, Science and Technology in the Queen’s birthday honours list published on Saturday 14 June 2014. Congratulations to Professor McInnes on receiving this most prestigious award.

Strathclyde student success at British Interplanetary Society for the fifth year in a row

Ciara McGrath, a final year MEng Aero-Mechanical Engineering, has won the BIS prize as the top UK undergraduate space research project. Ciara will now attend the 65th International Astronautical Congress in Toronto between 29 September and 3 October to present her paper title “Near-Optimal General Perturbations Solution to High Inclination Solar Orbits Using Solar Sail Propulsion”, and continues a long line of success in this competition by the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Satellite Mission Laboratory launched at Strathclyde

The first Satellite Applications Catapult Mission Laboratory – that will enable access to flight-like hardware for satellite technology providers – has been launched at the University of Strathclyde. The laboratory is the first step in the planned deployment of a national network of mission lab facilities planned by the Catapult – aimed at developing the small satellite supply chain in the UK. As one of the Catapult’s new Regional Centres of Excellence, the University of Strathclyde was chosen to host the lab, providing easier geographic access to technology providers in the northern part of the UK.

Professor Colin McInnes, Director of the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory said: "The Strathclyde Space Institute is a multi-disciplinary venture addressing key challenges in space systems engineering, space robotics, satellite applications and access to space. This new laboratory will allow us to enhance our engagement with the space sector through partnerships and using new knowledge to stimulate change and further innovation. It will be used extensively by our partner Clyde Space Ltd as a platform to develop new CubeSat technologies and applications."

The CubeSat flatsat is the first piece of the lab infrastructure which will enable the development of proof-of-concept payloads and satellite systems for future missions and satellite platforms. Additionally, it will provide ad-hoc and ongoing support for academic institutions, start-ups and SMEs, mitigating the need for significant up-front investment that might otherwise be necessary to demonstrate new technology concepts.


The International Handbook of Space Technology

Dr Malcolm Macdonald of the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, together with Prof Viorel Badescu of the Candida Oancea Institute and a Professor in the Department of Engineering Thermodynamics at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, have published The International Handbook of Space Technology with Praxis-Springer.

With a foreword by Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and contributions from globally leading agency experts from NASA, ESA, JAXA, and CNES, as well as European and North American academics and industrialists, this comprehensive handbook provides an overview of space technology and a holistic understanding of the system-of-systems that is a modern spacecraft.

Find out more, here.



Double ASCL success with RSE Lessells Travel Scholarships

The ASCL has this year dominated the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s John Moyes Lessells travel scholarship awards, which provide financial assistance to post-graduates from Scottish Universities wishing to conduct some aspect of their research overseas. The Royal Society of Edinburgh selected Christopher Lowe and Jeannette Heiligers as successful applicants.

Christopher, a 3rd year PhD candidate, will attend the Technical University of Munich (TUM) for 4 months, from September 2014. He plans to work with researchers in the School of Astronautics on system design methodologies for multi-agent nano-satellite missions.

Jeannette, a post-doctoral Research Associate, will use the award to spend 3 months at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, from January 2015. During her visit she will investigate the use of solar sails in the Earth-Moon system to find new and exploitable satellite orbits with applications in Earth observation, space surveillance and lunar communication.

Christopher and Jeannette are joined in their success by their departmental colleague David Garcia. David is a 2nd year PhD candidate from the Dynamics of Advanced Structures and Machinery (DASM) group (part of the Mechanics & Materials Research Centre) and plans to spend 5 months at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan.

These awards continue a host of recent success in this award from ASCL members, which reflects the quality of research being carried out in the laboratory. Previous winners include Daniel Garcia Yárnoz (2013), Pamela Anderson (2012) and Giuliano Punzo (ASCL, 2011).


Scottish centre to bring space technologies down to Earth

A new centre that will enable businesses to tap in to the UK’s multi-billion pound space sector is to be launched at the University of Strathclyde.

The Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is one of three hubs being developed by the Satellite Applications Catapult, part of the UK’s network of technology and innovation companies, to drive economic growth in key sectors.

The centre will consolidate links between the science knowledge base and the business community, enabling companies to use satellite data in new ways, from supporting the energy industry to planning future cities.

For more information see the official press release and the BBC website.

It's hip to be square: The CubeSat revolution

With the launch of the UK’s first commercial CubeSat, UKube-1, on the horizon, Dr Malcolm Macdonald and Researcher Christopher Lowe of the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory look at what the future holds for this standardised spacecraft platform. Read the full article via Strathprints.


(UKube-1 in the cleanroom at Clyde Space during final flight readiness testing. Image credit: University of Strathclyde)

ASCL at the Space Flight Mechanics Conference in Santa Fe

Two researcher from the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory attended the 24th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting in Santa Fe, NM, USA, from January 26-30 2014. Dr Giorgio Mingotti presented his paper on "Relative Dynamics and Control of High Area-to-Mass Ratio Spacecraft Flying Around an Oblate Earth Exploiting Solar Radiation Pressure" and Dr Jeannette Heiligers presented her paper on "Novel Solar Sail MIssion Concepts for Space Weather Forecasting". 

Most read AIAA journal article authored by ASCL members

The most read paper in the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics (see here) is authored by three (former) members of the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory formerly working at the University of Glasgow:

Joan-Pau Sanchez, Camilla Colombo, Massimiliano Vasile, and Gianmarco Radice (2009) Multi-criteria comparison among several mitigation strategies for dangerous near Earth objects. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 32 (1). pp. 121-142. ISSN 0731-5090

Find the paper on Strathprints, by clicking here.

Strong ASCL presence at the IAC in Beijing!

As in previous years, the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory was well-represented at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). The IAC is the yearly global space conference that gathers thousands of people from the space community and covers every aspect of space exploration, exploitation and education. It gathers agency heads and senior executives of the world's space agencies along with academics, researchers, industry and commerce executives in order to discuss on present and future progress in space. This year’s congress took place in Beijing, China, from 23 to 27 September. 12 researchers and PhD students from the ASCL presented over 20 papers covering the entire spectrum of space topics discussed at the conference.

From left to right: Chris Lowe, Steven Owens, Willem van der Weg, Joan-Pau Sanchez (previous at Strathclyde), Andreas Borggräfe, Matteo Ceriotti (previous at Strathclyde), Camilla Colombo (previously at Strathclyde), Ruaridh Clark  

"Celestial Mechanics for Planet Earth"-prize

Marta Ceccaroni undertook her PhD in the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory and during her time worked on a project for the European Space Agency titled “Analytic perturbative theories in highly inhomogeneous gravitational fields” under the supervision of Dr James Biggs.  This work proposed an algorithm to significantly speed up the procedure to characterize the shape and density of an inhomogeneous body by measuring the deviation between the observed orbit and the trajectory predicted with her analytical technique. The resulting time saved by such a derivation of the physical features of an unknown object may clearly play a key role in the case of hazardous asteroids. Thus, this mathematical procedure could possibly turn out to be extremely relevant in assessing mitigation strategies to deal with asteroids potentially threatening our planet. The work was published in Icarus in 2013 and was awarded the “Celestial Mechanics for Planet Earth” prize at The Sixth International Meeting on Celestial Mechanics that  took place in San Martino al Cimino (Italy) during September 2-6, 2013. 

Luigi Chierchia, Marta Ceccaroni, Florin Diacu 

Massimo Vetrisano won 'Move an Asteroid 2013 Technical Paper Competition'

Massimo Vetrisano is announced as the winner of the 'Move an Asteroid 2013 Technical Paper Competition' organised by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). His paper, ‘Effective approach Navigation prior to small body deflection’, co-authored by Daniel Garcia Yarnoz and Joao Branco, presents an innovative navigation and control strategy to rendezvous with faint celestial objects whose orbit is not precisely known. Massimo is flying to Beijing to attend the 12th Annual Space Generation Congress, endorsed by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. The congress is the annual meeting of the SGAC held in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress. The aim of the congress is to hone and promote the voice of the next generation of space sector leaders on the topic of international space development.

Corner detection on an asteroid. Picture by Joao Branco

Congratulations to Giuliano Punzo

Who successfully defended his PhD dissertation, titled “Verifiable Swarm Engineering with Limited Communication”, passing with minor corrections.

Giuliano’s work, supervised by Dr Malcolm Macdonald, considered the engineering of large swarms for applications requiring robust verification, and where it would not be feasible to each swarm member to communicate with every other swarm member. His theoretical work was validated in the laboratory and presented at a number of international conferences and in peer review journal papers. 

ASCL at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference

The ASCL this week presented five papers at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference in Boston, USA. The conference brings together experts from industry, government, and academia on an international level to cover a broad spectrum of issues concerning flight mechanics, modelling, simulation, information systems, and the guidance, navigation, and control of aerospace vehicles. The work from the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory spans this full spectrum, see below. Dr Malcolm Macdonald also chaired a session on “Orbital Dynamics and Propagation”.

- Development of Non-Linear Guidance Algorithms for Asteroids Close-Proximity Operations, AIAA-2013-4711, R. Furfaro, B. Gaudet, D. Wibben, J. Kidd, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; J. Simo, University of Strathclyde

- Optimal Attitude Motion Planner for Large Slew Maneuvers Using a Shape-Based Method, AIAA-2013-4719, A. Caubet, J. Biggs, University of Strathclyde

- Needs Assessment of Gossamer Structures in Communications Platform End-of-Life Disposal, AIAA-2013-4870, M. Macdonald, C. McInnes, C. Lücking, University of Strathclyde; L. Visagie, V. Lappas, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK; S. Erb, ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

- Analytical, Circle-to-Circle Low-Thrust Transfer Trajectories with Plane Change, AIAA-2013-5026, M. Macdonald, University of Strathclyde

- Deflecting Small Asteroids using Laser Ablation: Deep Space Navigation and Asteroid Orbit Control for LightTouch2 Mission, AIAA-2013-5250, M. Vetrisano, University of Strathclyde; J. Branco, GMV, Lisbon, Portugal; J. Sanchez Cuartielles, D. Garci Yarnoz, M. Vasile, University of Strathclyde

The dirty dozen: ASCL researchers identify 12 asteroid candidates for capture!

With recent events of the meteor impact at Chelyabinsk in Russia still fresh in our memories and the announcements last year of the founding of two major companies (Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries) dedicated to paving the way to the futuristic industry of asteroid mining, a recent publication by the ASCL received significant media coverage. 

The paper, published in Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, puts forward a new sub-category of asteroids, labelled EROs, or Easily Retrievable Objects. These are defined as objects that can be captured in periodic orbits around the L1 and L2 libration points (gravitational anchors) in the Sun-Earth system at low energy cost.

This subgroup of objects is of particular relevance since NASA’s announcement of its latest mission concept within the Asteroid Initiative Framework: to rendezvous with an asteroid, lasso it and haul it back to Earth’s neighbourhood to be then visited by astronauts by 2021.

So far 12 EROs have been identified among over 10,000 known Near-Earth Objects, albeit considering the low completion of the small asteroids census, it’s foreseen that this list will be populated with many more in the next few years. Let the hunt begin!

The work was funded by ERC through the VISIONSPACE project.

External links:



PhD students triumph in Faculty of Engineering Research Presentation Day

Andreas Borggräfe was awarded the Best Poster Prize from approximately 250 submissions on the day. Andreas' poster describes novel mission applications for shape-changing solar sail spacecraft. The concept introduces future adaptive spacecraft configurations where the spacecraft can change its geometric or optical properties during the mission. By using a large array of electro-chromic coating elements across the surface, the solar sail can be controlled without the use of mechanical systems. When modifying the spatial reflectivity across the sail, specific geometries can be generated, such as a parabolic reflector. This leads to the idea of solar sails as multi-functional platforms that can deliver additional key mission functionality such as power collection, sensing and communications. The concept therefore represents a major opportunity for future highly-integrated 'smart' spacecraft with on-board autonomy.

Garrie Mushet came 3rd in the Best Poster Prize, for a poster describing his recent research on task allocation algorithms for self-organising micro-satellite constellations. The poster introduces coupled selection equations as a means of allocating satellites to targets on the Earth's surface, and gives details of an artificial potential field controller which then manoeuvres the satellites into position above their targeted longitudes. This demonstrates the possibility of a constellation that can tailor its on-orbit configuration to meet real-time changes in bandwidth requirements, allocating its resources to match the demand on the Earth's surface. Such a constellation has important consequences for applications in telecommunications, Earth observation, space science and disaster monitoring.

ASCL attendance at the European Control Conference

ASCL Dr. James Biggs and PhD student Daniele Pagnozzi attended as authors of accepted papers at the European Control Conference 2013. This highly international event was hosted this year by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Dr. James Biggs and Daniele Pagnozzi at ECC 2013

Third International Symposium on Solar Sailing

With 90 delegates from 19 countries, the department’s Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory hosted international experts in this exciting and advanced field of spacecraft propulsion from 11 – 13 June. The symposium brought together the entire research community, from the world’s leading universities, and from its space agencies, including ESA, NASA, JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) and DLR (German Space Agency), providing a unique opportunity to discuss funded solar sail flight programs alongside on-going technology development and future mission plans.

Later this year, Springer will publish the proceedings of the symposium in the inaugural volume of Advances in Solar Sailing. The symposium concluded with a social event at the Auchentoshan whisky distillery and a dinner at Ross Priory, where the best paper and best student paper awards were presented to Jonathan Eastwood from Imperial College London and Daniel Guerrant from the University of Colorado.

The local organising committee, led by Dr Malcolm Macdonald, thank Scottish Enterprise and gold sponsor L'Garde for their support in making this international event so highly productive and successful.


Delegates of the 3rd International Symposium on Solar Sailing

Astronet-II summer school at Strathclyde

The first summer school and annual meeting of the AstroNet-II network has been hosted at the University of Strathclyde during the week 3-7 June. AstroNet-II is a Marie-Curie Research Training Network on Astrodynamics that brings together mathematicians, engineers and astronomers from universities, governmental agencies and industry. This school intendes to provide an insight into current research methods used in and applied to spacecraft control and mission design, with a number of lectures, exercise sessions, and research presentations aimed at training early stage and experienced researchers by presenting current state-of-the-art research delivered by leading international experts in the field. In addition, a special memorial session dedicated to the Emeritus Professor of Astronomy Archie Roy took place on the afternoon of Monday 3rd June. 

Delegates of the AstroNet-II network summer school in Glasgow

Three ASCL PhD students to attend Chinese summer school

ASCL PhD students Romain Wuilbercq, Willem van der Weg and Alison Gibbings have been selected as part of the 58-strong international delegation who will be fully funded to attend the 2013 International Graduate Summer School in Aeronautics and Astronautics, organised by Beihang University, Beijing.

ASCL researcher wins best poster prize at the University Research Day

Jeannette Heiligers, a Research Associate at the ASCL, won the best poster prize in the technology category of the University Research Day. She won the prize with a poster (see here: URD2013_Poster) about the concept of an advanced space weather warning mission. This concept takes an innovative approach to orbital dynamics and uses solar sailing to increase the warning time for harmful radiation from the Sun that is heading towards the Earth. This radiation can have detrimental effects on vital assets on ground and in space, including disruptions in radio transmissions, destruction of power grids and damage to Earth-orbiting satellites. The results of the research are shared in a collaboration with L’Garde, prime contractor of NASA’s Sunjammer mission, which is a solar sail demonstration mission, scheduled for launch in 2014, and aims to demonstrate the concept of advanced space weather warning.

Jeannette Heiligers receiving her prize from Principal Sir Jim McDonald

ASCL researcher wins IET Postgraduate Scholarship

Alison Gibbings, a visiting PhD student working under the supervision of Dr Massimiliano Vasile, has just been awarded the IET Postgraduate Scholarship for Outstanding Researcher of 2013. The award was given in recognition of her research on laser ablation for the deflection, exploration and exploitation of Near Earth Asteroids. Her work is supported by members of the Planetary Society and the European Space Agency through the SYSNova Challenge Opportunity. She will receive her award at the IET Award Ceremony later in the year.

ASCL researcher wins in student paper competition at the Planetary Defense Conference.

Alison Gibbings, a visiting PhD student working under the supervision of Dr Massimiliano Vasile, has won the 2nd prize in the student paper competition at the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Planetary Defense Conference (PDC), Flagstaff, USA. Her work, supported by the Planetary Society, detailed the results gained from a series of laser ablation experiments, how these results have been used to update the current mathematical model and the overall performance of laser ablation for the successful deflection and manipulation of asteroids. Her success follows on from previous wins of the 1st and 2nd prizes at the previous Planetary Defense Conference in Bucharest in 2011. Alison has been invited to join one of the IAA study teams and asked to speak at the 2014 High Power Laser Ablation conference. She will also be making her debut on the Discovery Channel and NASA's Edge TV! 

Alison Gibbings with her prize at the PLanetary Defence Conference

ASCL researcher wins "Speak Out for Engineering" competition.

Alison Gibbings, a visiting PhD student within the ASCL, has won the Glasgow heat of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' "Speak Out for Engineering" competition. Her presentation was on how laser ablation can be used to deflect or exploit asteroids. Her work was partially supported through the European Space Agency's SYSNova Challenge Opportunity, and was performed in partnership with EADS Astrium, GMV, the University of Southampton, and the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory here in our department.

Alison will now go on and present her research at the national final in Edinburgh!

Alison Gibbings receiving her Speak Out for Engineering award

Strong ASCL presence at SET for Britain 2013

Five researchers from the ASCL showcased their research in the prestigious SET for Britain poster competition in the House of Commons in Westminster, London. They were among the 60 posters shortlisted in the engineering category from hundreds of applicants and presented their work to expert judges, MPs and industry leaders.
The SET for Britain event aims to promote understanding about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.

Andreas Borggräfe, Alison Gibbings, Giuliano Punzo, Thomas Sinn and Massimo Vetrisano were joined by ASCL reseacher Jeannette Heiligers, who won the gold medal in last year's competition. 

From left to right: Giuliano Punzo, Massimo Vetrisano, Alison Gibbings, Jeannette Heiligers, Andreas Borggräfe and Thomas Sinn 


In February, six researchers from the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory participated in the 23rd AAS/AIAA Space Flights Mechanics Meeting in Lihue, Hawaii. Such a large representation ensured the high-quality research that is on-going in the department was showcased at one of the most technical and prestigious conferences in the field. This year one of the highlights of the conference were the three full sessions dedicated to the Mars Science Laboratory, known as the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in August 2012 and gave the researchers an opportunity to learn of the engineering required to achieve such a momentous goal.

PhD students Pamela Anderson, Albert Caubet, Steve Owens, Daniel Garcia Yarnoz and Federico Zuliani, as well as research fellow Giorgio Mingotti, attended and presented their visionary work in front of a large international audience with great success and very positive feedback.

Mahalo to all the supporters of their attendance to the conference, including the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Royal Aeronautical Society, Women in Aerospace, Astronet, ERC and the University of Strathclyde!!

From left to right: Federico Zuiani, Albert Caubet,  Pamela Anderson, Giorgio Mingotti, Steve Owens, and Daniel Garcia Yarnoz 

StrathSat-R: Scientific Payload Integration Week

Four members of the StrathSat-R team attended the REXUS Scientific Payload Integration week, hosted by the German space agency (DLR) in their Bremen facility. The purpose of the week was to check over the experiment’s status, with mechanical and electronic inspections carried out, as well as testing systems which could cause experimental functionality or launch safety risks.

The experiment is to be launched, on-board a sounding rocket, from the Esrange Space Centre (Kiruna, Sweden) in May 2013. Therefore a shaker test was performed to qualification standard for the rocket as well as a pyrocutter activated ejector test and timeline simulations to test the functionality of the experiment’s electronics and software.

The team return to the university with some final modifications to make before submitting the experiment at Bench Test, to be held in DLR’s Munich facility in March, which will mark the last milestone before launch.

Preparation for the shaker test 

Testing system prior to timeline simulations

ASCL @ Space Horizons Workshop - Brown University

As per tradition, in recent years the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory has regularly been invited to participate in a Workshop organised by Brown University (RI, USA). This year made no exception, and on Thursday 21st of February - in the framework of the weekly Group Colloquium - the ASCL had a 1-h video link with Brown University during the Space Horizons Workshop "Micro Meets Macro". The event began with a brief introduction, then PhD students Garrie Mushet and Giuliano Punzo gave two relevant talks; later on, from Brown University Dr. Charles Norton (JPL/NASA) gave an interesting presentation on NASA's new hybrid-class missions. At the end of the joint workshop, a panel discussion on the "Micro Meets Macro" topic concluded the event.

Principal Visits Clyde Space to View UKube-1 Prior to Launch

Professor Sir Jim McDonald visited Clyde Space Ltd with staff from the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory to view UKube-1, a pioneering micro-spacecraft due for launch later this year. The spacecraft has been developed through an award-winning KTP between Clyde Space Ltd and the University of Strathclyde.

From left to right: John Charlick (Clyde Space), Prof Colin McInnes (Strathclyde), Prof Sir Jim McDonald (Strathclyde), Andrew Strain (Clyde Space).

ASCL PhD student awarded prestigious scholarship

PhD researcher Jeannette Heiligers was awarded an IET Postgraduate Scholarship of £2,500 at this years Award Ceremony of The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The IET Postgraduate Scholarships aim to encourage excellence in engineering research at universities in the United Kingdom and aim to assist IET members in undertaking postgraduate research in the UK. These scholarships are financed from bequests given to the IET by the late Mr P S Hudswell (a former member of the IET) who left a substantial bequest to assist members with research, and the late Joseph William Beauchamp, who left a bequest to assist members with their education.


For the official press release, click here.

picture Jeannette Heiligers

Jeannette Heiligers.

ASCL student success at prestigious space awards

PhD researcher Charlotte Lücking was handed the Sir Arthur Clarke award for her PhD research by comedian Jon Culshaw at a ceremony in the palace of Westminster. She was nominated in the student achievement category together with two other doctoral researchers from the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory: Jeannette Heiligers and Pamela Anderson. 

The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards, better known as ‘The Arthurs’, are presented to those individuals or teams that have made notable or outstanding contributions to all space activities, particularly in the UK, over the past year. This year the ceremony took place in the House of Lords in the palace of Westminster in London, hosted by The Lord Cobbold, DL. The Master of Ceremonies for this prestigious event was the well-known space enthusiast, celebrity impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw.


Nominees left to right: Pamela Anderson, Charlotte Lücking(holding the award) and Jeannette Heiligers.

StrathSat-R wins the Hans-von-Muldau Team Award

A team of Strathclyde students were awarded the Hans-von-Muldau team award at the International Astronautical Congress this month. The group is comprised of undergraduate students from the Engineering faculty and guided by PhD students from the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory. The cup was accepted by Ruaridh Clark, the undergraduate project manager. The team have been working hard in the last twelve months on StrathSat-R, an experiment testing novel inflatable structures in space conditions. The aim is to launch two spacecraft on a parabolic trajectory with a European rocket next year. The spacecraft carrying deployable space structures developed by the ASCL will experience minutes of zero gravity and vacuum during the flight. If the structures can be proven to work correctly, they could one day act as light-weight, stowable antenna dishes, help clean-up space junk or be used as a sail for solar pressure. You can follow the group here.

StrathSat-R led my MAE undergraduate Ruaridh Clark. (Photo by Graeme Fleming)

ASCL Researcher wins Gold at the IAC

ASCL PhD researcher, Charlotte Lücking, struck gold with her proposal for a CubeSat mission to demonstrate passive orbit transfer. The paper was presented to a panel of judges at the International Astronautical Congress in Naples this month. It contains a system design for a CubeSat which carries an inflatable balloon to exploit natural orbit perturbations such as aerodynamic drag and light pressure to transfer from one orbit to another. The method may enable novel missions for small satellites and provide new launch opportunities for CubeSats. Charlotte said: “I am very honoured to have won this medal. It shows that there is a growing interest in the expansion of applications for small satellites and CubeSats. This success would not have been possible without the support of my supervisor, my research team, my university and my travel sponsors, the British Interplanetary Society.”

The paper can be found here:

Charlotte Lücking won the 2012 Gold Medal for best individual graduate student paper at the IAC. (Photo by Graeme Fleming)

Stardust's Mid-Term Review will take place at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on Monday 20th October. The entire Network will be present and this presents a good opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made so far, but also to look ahead to what we want to achieve over the next couple of years. There will undoubtedly be some fruitful dialogue and the chance to catch up with our colleagues in person.

Moriba Jah will be coming to Strathclyde University on the morning of Nov 03rd to speak about Space Situational Awareness. Moriba is the Mission Lead on SSA for the USAF Research Laboratory. He is an astrodynamicist with expertise in multi-sensor/multi-space object detection, tracking, identification, and characterization. Please email if you would like to attend his presentation.

International Astronautical Congress 2012

The ASCL’s work and views on future of space progress have again been well represented at the annual International Astronautical Congress by a large group of delegates. This year’s 63rd IAC was held in Naples, Italy, from the 1st to 5th October and gathered agency heads and senior executives of the world's space agencies along with academics, researchers, industry and commerce executives in order to discuss on present and future progress in space. The ASCL representation consisted of 13 delegates presenting 18 papers that covered almost all the research work carried at the lab.


Success in KTP Scotland Awards

A collaboration between the University of Strathclyde and Clyde Space Ltd scooped one of two Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards for Scotland after developing the UKube-1 next-generation ‘CubeSat’ micro-spacecraft. The KTP scheme is Europe’s leading programme to help businesses and organisations to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the use of knowledge, technology and skills from higher education institutions. The space KTP will now go forward to the finals of the UK-wide competition.

Through the scheme, KTP Associate Stephen Greenland worked with Clyde Space CEO Craig Clark and head of Engineering Andrew Strain to develop the UKube-1 CubeSat, due for launch in March 2013. Stephen is now employed by Clyde Space as Senior Systems Engineer. The Strathclyde side was led by Professor Colin McInnes and Dr Malcolm Macdonald from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and also saw Research Associate Dr Derek Bennet part-seconded to the firm. The project has catalysed on-going Technology Strategy Board and UK Space Agency funded work on CubeSat technologies at the University led by Dr James Biggs and Dr Massimiliano Vasile.


R-L: Steve Greenland (CS), Craig Clark (CS), Colin McInnes (SU), Andrew Strain (CS))

News Archive

Older news related with the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory can be seen here.