Blighty in SPAAAACE: Brit-built satellite films the Earth

Fully British bird snaps sweeping vista of our spinning blue marble


Video Youtube Video of the satellite footage of the planet Earth.

An experiment-filled Brit satellite has released a minute-long video of planet Earth – the first images of our home world captured by an entirely UK-built spacecraft.

The TechDemoSat-1, made by Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL), filmed the short sequence moments after separating from the Fregat upper stage of its Soyuz-2 launcher, following its launch in early July.

The video starts around 30 seconds after the satellite was injected into orbit by the launcher and was filmed thanks to an inspection camera mounted on the exterior of the craft.

“It is very rare to see actual footage of our satellites in orbit, and so viewing the video taken from TechDemoSat-1 moments after separation from the rocket has been a hugely rewarding and exciting experience for everyone at SSTL,” said exec chair Sir Martin Sweeting.

“We are delighted with the progress of commissioning the TechDemoSat-1 platform, and are looking forward to the next phase – the demonstration of a range of new technologies being flown on this innovative mission.”

The camera is not just on board to take stunning vistas of space, SSTL is currently using it as an inspection camera to monitor the antenna pointing mechanism, one of the craft’s payloads.

Like much of the sat’s components, the camera is cobbled together from off-the-shelf components that have been ruggedised to withstand the rigours of space. Building parts of the TechDemoSat in this way has given Brit companies a low-cost way to prove their products’ mettle in space.

The aim of the metre-cubed craft is to allow UK firms to prove their instruments and tech in the hopes that they can win international contracts. The endeavour has been partially funded by the government as part of its push of the space sector as a billion-pound industry. ®


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