liaison could bring the benefits of satellite technology to all

19-02-2015 | Newbury Electronics | Design Applications

Newbury Electronics is helping Satellite Applications Catapult, an innovation and technology company fostering economic growth through the exploitation of space, to bring the benefits of satellite technology to all businesses and organisations, regardless of their size. Newbury Electronics has recently used its specialist production skills to supply the company with prototype circuit boards that measure 44mm x 44mm, slightly smaller than a credit card.

Chris Brunskill, Upstream Technologies Lead, Satellite Applications Catapult, said: "Making satellite technology and the benefits it can deliver available to a wider audience is one of the goals of our organisation. Currently the smallest viable satellites are about the size of a loaf of bread but we have now been able to develop a prototype, the PocketQube that has the same functionality but is the size of a pack of butter and weighs only 180 grams. We couldn't have achieved this without Newbury Electronics input and specialist engineering skills and it is great that there are UK companies with this world beating knowledge and expertise."

The boards were designed by two summer interns working at the Catapult and then passed to Newbury's specialist team for production. Using their experience they were able to offer advice re the orientation of the boards and were able to accommodate the changing demands of the project as it evolved over a two month period. Following an initial production of ten boards, the company is about to start producing a second batch for use by Satellite Applications Catapult in a series of public events being held later in the spring.

The current size and weight of satellites means that they incur significant launch costs, but by reducing the size and weight there is scope for what is known as 'constellation launches' where up to a dozen satellites can be launched at one time. As a consequence the launch costs can be reduced and then shared between different organisations making the benefits of this technology far more accessible to businesses and organisations, regardless of their size, says the company.

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