News - 2013-01-07

You may have wondered what we've been up to - and why we haven't reported in for a while.  The answer is...we've being doing orbital space work instead!

Our main client at the moment is a leading player in the UK space industry, specialising in satellite technologies, and since July last year we've been completely occupied working on both in-flight software and satellite simulators.  You might ask: what's a satellite simulator for? You can't exactly grab a joystick and fly the thing! Well, it's not as daft as you might think. When operators are being trained on ground operations, they don't want their first experience de-tumbling a satellite to be doing it with a couple of hundred million dollars' worth of equipment in space! It's best for them to make their first mistakes on something that acts and responds exactly like an orbiting satellite, but sits in an equipment rack firmly on Earth.  It also gives them a chance to try out operational ideas or emergency actions in a safe environment before they commit to sending the orders to their real spacecraft.

As we've said elsewhere, paid client work always comes first. That's been occupying our full attention for the past half year, and for a few months to come, at least.  However, we're not standing still.  We've got our development equipment with us, and we're still moving the STARS-1 software forward, although necessarily more slowly than we would if we were working from our own offices.

There are some benefits for STARS too.  Our client has provided us access to both collective wisdom, engineering equipment (we have a lot of our own, but some heavy engineering is outside our ambit), and off-cuts of materials such as orbit-grade thermal insulation, which should remove the need for battery heaters.