Press Release

British satellite captures Lunar eclipse from space

By SpaceRef Editor
January 10, 2001
Filed under ,

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
Surrey Space Centre
University of Surrey
Guildford, UK
 

A British minisatellite, UoSAT-12, built and launched by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), has observed yesterday’s Lunar eclipse from a 650km low Earth orbit.
 
Surrey engineers, working from Mission Control at the Surrey Space Centre, swung the minisatellite up from its normal downward Earth imaging role to point its multispectral camera at the Moon in order to capture last night’s eclipse from space.
 
Picture available electronically at:
    www.sstl.co.uk/primages/UoSAT-12eclipse.jpg
 
The image, taken at 19:20 hrs GMT, was 40 minutes before total eclipse.
 
Editors’ notes:
 
Surrey’s remote sensing cameras are returning remarkable images of the Earth’s surface — in LANDSAT-compatible bands. Whereas conventional Earth observation and remote sensing satellite missions are extremely costly — typically in excess of £150M each — Surrey’s UoSAT-12 minisatellite mission was developed for £6M.
 
To meet this demanding budget, Surrey’s engineers designed their remote sensing cameras using commercial off-the-shelf components, such as standard camera lenses and digital-camera imaging electronics. Surrey’s unique approach contrasts starkly with the traditional space engineering technique of having all components custom-made for space use. Yet the results of Surrey’s space missions compare favourably with their high-cost cousins.
 
This lunar eclipse image is just the latest in a series of remarkable results from Surrey’s UoSAT-12 minisatellite, launched April 1999. SSTL engineers turned the satellite toward the Moon to demonstrate it’s agility and the sensitivity of it’s on-board control and imaging systems. The technology demonstrated by this manoeuvre will be used by Surrey in several upcoming commercial satellite missions, including two under development for the British National Space Centre’s MOSAIC programme for disaster monitoring and high resolution Earth imaging.
 
Weighing just 315kg, UoSAT-12 was designed, built and funded by SSTL as a demonstration mission and launched in April 1999 by a converted SS18 ICBM from Russia. A highly successful mission, UoSAT-12 has demonstrated advanced high resolution Earth observation capabilities, microwave digital communications, as well as innovative propulsion and attitude control technologies.
 
Further information from:
 
Audrey Nice
Press & Publicity
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
Surrey Space Centre
University of Surrey
Guildford
GU2 7XH UK
Tel: +44 (0)1483 879 278
Fax: +44 (0)1483 879503
Email: [email protected]
 

SpaceRef staff editor.